Pennsylvania Casinos to Go Smokeless—Legislation on the Go

A landmark House Bill 2298 is being introduced by the Pittsburg area Rep. Dan Frankel. It seeks to amend the Clean Indoor Air Act with legislation that bans smoking at outdoor as well as indoor public places regardless of the type of establishment.

The Clean Indoor Air Act was passed in 2008 in Pennsylvania. Though it banned smoking in indoor places, including workplaces, certain exemptions were included in the Act. Establishments that depended on alcohol for significant sales instead of food, casinos, private clubs, and cigar lounges were kept outside the purview of the Act.

It is not that the new bill is going to bring in radical changes and have a complete lockdown on smoking in bars, nightclubs, and casinos. Initially, casino managements have to earmark 75% of the gaming floor as a no-smoking zone. If it is found that the revenue generated from the smoking area far exceeds that of the no-smoking area, they can appeal for adjustment.

The no-smoking bill could not have come at a better time. Pennsylvania currently has 12 casinos, but the number is poised for rapid growth in the coming years with four more satellite venues and Live! Casino Philadelphia set to open doors.

Proponents of the bill say that it is all the more necessary now due to the raging Covid-19 pandemic. People generally lower or remove a mask to have a drag and this can be deadly for public health. Under these circumstances, non-smoking legislation that is strictly implemented makes a lot of sense.

Casino owners talk of a drop in revenues if this bill goes through. But in reality, the mindset of casino visitors has changed. In a recent poll, most Las Vegas tourists said that they do not want to smoke when they visit a casino. 72% of respondents wanted smoking to be banned or severely restricted. The poll also indicated that there was almost an equal balance between those who would visit a casino only if a complete ban on smoking was in place and those who want to smoke in a casino.

MD: A landmark House Bill 2298 is being introduced by the Pittsburg area Rep. Dan Frankel. It seeks to amend the Clean Indoor Air Act with legislation that bans smoking at outdoor as well as indoor public places regardless of the type of establishment.

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