Sen. Polistina Sponsors Legislation To Ban Smoking At AC Casinos
During an on-air interview with us that took place on December 3, 2021, New Jersey State Senator Vince Polistina, R-2 officially stated his position regarding the practice of smoking being permitted in the Atlantic City Casinos.
Polistina made it clear that he wants the casino smoking exemption to end.
Now, Polistina is backing up his promise. He is the only Republican sponsor of the legislation that will ban smoking on the casino floor.
The new Senate bill, S264, was formally introduced in Trenton, New Jersey and it has been sent to the Health Committee to work on the legislation.
Every expectation is that a companion piece of legislation will be introduced in the New Jersey General Assembly in the very near future.
You can expect the Atlantic County region’s two Assembly Members, Claire Swift and Don Guardian to support the legislation and follow Polistina’s lead.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has long publicly maintained that he supports ending the exemption. He is poised to sign the legislation and enact it into law when it reaches his desk.
As long as Steve Sweeney was New Jersey State Senate President, this legislation could go no where … as he refused to post the legislation for consideration.
Sweeney left office earlier this week.
It is almost certain that the legislation will pass both houses of the New Jersey Legislature and become law.
Dr. Bob Zlotnick, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Prevention Resources and his organization have waged public a battle for many years to end the Atlantic City Casino smoking exemption … for health reasons.
Atlantic Prevention Resources has been working closely with a group called Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects or “C.E.A.S.E.” We have presented members of their group several times during Zlotnick’s monthly on-air segment.
Polistina stated to us that he believes that the Atlantic City Casinos are financially stable enough to make this change now.
The previous legislation, which currently allows for smoking on 25 percent of the casino floor space, has been in effect since 2006.
This was during a time of significant Atlantic City Casino contraction, when multiple casinos closed and the legislature made the smoking accommodation to help them during a very difficult time.
During a brutal wave of COVID-19, smoking was completely prohibited at a time when face masks were required to be worn inside … making it physically impossible to smoke.
Proponents of the complete smoking ban point to this as proof that the industry will do just fine without smoking on premises.
Gaming opponents of the legislation maintain that it will cost business and make the Atlantic City Casino jurisdiction less competitive versus other gaming markets that do permit smoking.
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