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Atlantic City bans smoking at the casinos

Atlantic City bans smoking at the casinos After battling for over an year, the smoking ban at the Atlantic City casinos is finally a fact. The City Council voted 9-0 Wednesday to eliminate the casino exemption from the statewide ban on smoking in public buildings, effectively ending all smoking at the eleven Atlantic City casinos. The ban will take effect on October 15th. There is one last option left for the casinos - they can build unstaffed smoking lounges away from the tables and the slot machines, where patrons could go and enjoy a smoke legally.

 Atlantic City began the battle for smoke-free gambling floors in early 2007, but came under pressure from the casinos and enacted a compromise law restricting smoking to no more than 25% of the casino floor. But the vote Wednesday banned all smoking inside the casinos, a fact many patrons, as well as the casino management, believe it would be detrimental to the business. While casino workers applauded the smoking ban, it is a double-edged sword - the Atlantic City casino industry claims that a full smoking ban could cut revenue by 20% and mean the loss of as many as 3,400 jobs, especially when the casinos have seen their revenues falling in the past months, ever since competition from neighboring states, such as Pennsylvania and New York, has increased. "I don't think there should be separate areas. I won't come here at all; I live closer to Philadelphia, anyway. And I hate smoking outside," a patron at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort was quoted summing up the new smoking ban at the Atlantic City casinos.

 Published on 04/24/2008

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