Casinos around the United States have been working extremely hard to improve their safety measures lately. Unfortunately, many of these gambling venues have been forced to shut down due to public health concerns. Several prominent groups are now pushing the American Gaming Association to ban smoking inside casinos.
This has been a major talking point for years. Today, we’ll talk about what could lead to this massive change being implemented.
Let’s get into it!
More States Are Expected to Shut Down Casinos This Month
For more than a month, the United States has been experiencing a massive spike in Covid-19 cases. It’s something that health experts have been warning about for years. As the colder months approach, more people are gathering indoors and infection rates begin to increase.
Each state is taking its own approach to deal with this situation. Many analysts have been keeping a close eye on what is happening in Nevada. The world’s biggest gambling hub has ordered casinos to ramp up safety measures, yet Governor Sisolak is doing everything he can to avoid a complete shutdown of the state’s casinos.
Some states are taking more dramatic steps. Several states including Illinois and Michigan have ordered all commercial casinos to close their doors to the public. It’s been a tough situation for the owners of these gambling venues, all of whom are losing massive amounts of revenue each week.
Unfortunately, infection rates continue to increase around the country. Some analysts now expect more states to announce casino shutdowns in the near future. There’s even a chance that this could take place in major gaming hubs such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
The land-based casino industry is facing its toughest test in history. Casino companies are now trying to come up with new safety measures to convince state leaders they can remain open. Whether or not they will be successful remains to be seen.
Several groups are calling for casinos to change their rules on smoking. Could we see a smoking ban implemented before the end of the year?
California Group Pushes to Ban Smoking Inside Casinos
Smoking has been allowed in casinos for decades. Despite the known health effects, major gaming destinations have done little to stop this trend.
It’s not hard to see why. A few casinos in hubs like Las Vegas have decided to prohibit smoking over the past couple of decades. Doing so almost immediately resulted in a major drop in their average number of players.
Perhaps 2020 is the year a widely-adopted smoking ban is finally set in place. At least, that’s what the California-based Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights have been calling for. This week, the group sent a formal letter to the American Gaming Association asking for casinos to stop accepting tax dollars unless they prohibit smoking. The group also claims that banning smoking does not result in a major drop in overall revenue.
“In states with permanent smoke-free policies, such as Maryland and Ohio, the industry is experiencing year-over-year revenue increases, despite operating at reduced capacity,” the group’s letter said. “Casinos in states that were forced to abide by a state-imposed, temporary smoke-free policy in order to reopen, such as Pennsylvania, have seen revenues remain relatively stable compared to the previous year, especially considering they have been operating at significantly reduced capacity, and the smoke-free policy has helped to keep 99 percent of gaming employees COVID-free.”
In the past, it would seem impossible to imagine this kind of measure being widely adopted. This industry is in a precarious position right now, however, and this new rule could help casinos to remain open.
We’ll continue offering updates on this situation over the next few months!
Here’s What to Expect in Las Vegas This Month
From an economic standpoint, Las Vegas has been hit harder than any other major US city. This part of the country relies heavily on its tourism and casino industry. For nearly all of 2020, these industries have been hurting.
Governor Steve Sisolak understands how devastating the state’s regulations can be. The casino shutdowns back in March resulted in a massive number of job losses and may have permanent effects on the city. Sisolak also understands that failing to implement any regulations could have just as devastating an effect.
In mid-November, the Governor announced a new set of regulations. Until further notice, bars, restaurants, and casinos will need to operate at just 25% capacity. Private gatherings must be limited to 10 people.
At the time of this article, Nevada experienced an additional 2,902 Covid-19 cases and 23 more deaths. That’s a large increase from the 2,536 cases seen yesterday. Despite the state’s efforts, more cases are being seen here on an almost daily basis.
Some now believe that another major casino shutdown is necessary. Without it, the state may continue seeing huge increases in infections. Hopefully, the federal government comes up with a plan to protect the businesses and individuals affected by any new regulations set in place here.
Do you think the AGA should ban smoking inside casinos? Could this take place in Las Vegas? Let us know in the comments section below!