A casino current being constructed in Arkansas may be hit with a major new regulation. Members of the Pine Bluff City Council are considering adding the Saracen Casino Resort to a city ordinance to make smoke-free workplaces. If approved, this casino will become a non-smoking gaming establishment.
It’s interesting news for this casino. Today, we’re going to look at the current set of land-based and online gambling laws in this state. We’ll also talk about why lawmakers here are considering the smoking ban. Let’s get started!
Gambling Laws in Arkansas, Explained
Arkansas has evolved to have some of the most liberal gambling laws in the south. This wasn’t always the case, though. Up until very recently, this state only allowed electronic gaming machines for blackjack, poker, etc… In 2018, lawmakers in this state changed things up.
Last year, a bill was passed to allow all forms of traditional casino gambling. This bill allows for four new casinos to open here. Several ‘racinos’ are already available in Arkansas and a few traditional casinos will open here in the next few years.
Casino gambling has proved very successful for the state. Many local residents flock to these gambling establishments every month. There are also a huge number of great AR casino sites that many residents here love to play at.
Arkansas has not yet taken the steps to regulate its online gambling market. Fortunately, many casino websites based in other countries operate in this state, most of which offer a wide range of amazing games and safe payment options.
Like most states, Arkansas allows smoking inside casinos. This may soon be changing. Lawmakers in the city of Pine Bluff are debating whether or not to ban smoking inside the Saracen Casino Resort.
Should the Saracen Casino Resort Become Smoke-Free?
As we already mentioned, lawmakers in Arkansas approved adding new casinos to the state last year. In early August, the Quapaw Tribe began construction on a new $350 million casino resort in Pine Bluff. The Saracen Casino Resort is expected to become one of the most popular gaming venues in the state.
Interestingly, members of the Pine Bluff city council are considering adding a new restriction to this casino. During the recent 2019 legislative session, this city agreed to ban smoking in workplaces. Now, lawmakers are trying to decide whether or not this should apply to casinos, as well.
The Public Health and Welfare Committee of the City Council was split on the issue. Members of this group agreed to send the issue to the full City Council. Katherine Donald, executive director of the Arkansas Coalition for a Smoke-Free Arkansas, supports the measure to ban smoking at the Saracen Casino Resort.
“Our mission is very simple,” Donald said to the media. “We work throughout the state of Arkansas helping to inform policy, information, and other efforts that will protect the health of Arkansans.”
Officials at the casino itself are pushing against this measure. Carlton Saffa, an official here, claims that banning smoking will significantly reduce the revenue that the casino brings in. He cites the 20% decrease in casino revenue that Illinois experienced after banning smoking inside casinos.
Officials Torn on Smoking Ban in Pine Bluff Casino
It’s clear that this is a debate that will go on for some time. Health advocates in the state believe that banning smoking at the Saracen Casino Resort will benefit the state’s residents. The casino operators are obviously are concerned with their earnings.
Saffa claims that part of the $350 million budget for the casino is to build a $2-3 million state of the art air filtration in the casino. This air system will maintain air quality by recirculating the air every 10 minutes.
We’ll need to wait and see what the City Council decides over the next few weeks.
Arkansas’ casino industry is set to grow exponentially over the next few years. Hopefully, the three new casinos coming to this state will help to bring in valuable revenue. Many states including Illinois, are also beginning to expand their casino industries. It’s a great time for gambling fans around the country!
Stay tuned for updates more news on the Saracen Casino Resort!