September 20, 2022
ANR Encourages Lawmakers to Include Ending Indoor Smoking in Upcoming Resolution for Preventing Problem Gambling
Letter to National Council of Legislators from Gaming States Comes Ahead of Best Practices Resolution Being Finalized at December Meeting in Las Vegas
Allowing Indoor Smoking Discourages Smokers Who Gamble From Taking Breaks, One Of The Key Tenets Of Responsible Gaming
Berkeley, CA— Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) is encouraging a group of key state legislators to recommend in its upcoming resolution that states end indoor smoking – which is typically allowed via a loophole in state law. The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) is finalizing for its December meeting in Las Vegas a best practices resolution for preventing problem gambling that will be shared with legislators in every state.
In a letter to NCLGS President Jon Ford, Cynthia Hallett, ANR president and CEO, noted that the connection between indoor smoking and problem gambling is often overlooked and shared how they are connected.
“As NCLGS builds a resolution regarding the best practices for states to consider to prevent problem gambling, we appreciate the opportunity to contribute to this resolution by highlighting an area that deserves more attention: the connection between indoor smoking and problem gambling,” she wrote. “Permitting indoor smoking discourages smokers who gamble from taking breaks, one of the key tenets of responsible gaming.”
The letter highlights comments by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) about the net benefit for states when lawmakers enact smokefree casino policies.
Hallett wrote, “Just last month, the leading organization dealing with gambling addiction warned state legislators that continuing to allow indoor smoking at casinos will only continue to encourage gambling addiction. The warning was addressed to New Jersey legislators, but it applies to legislators in every gaming state where indoor smoking is still permitted at casinos. [NCPG Executive Director Keith] Whyte concludes in the letters that passing these bipartisan bills in New Jersey would be a net benefit for addressing problem gambling as well as improving public health.”
Hallett also noted a finding from a recent report from Las Vegas-based C3 Gaming, which “shows that casinos have unwittingly acknowledged that allowing indoor smoking only furthers gambling addiction.”
The letter included an excerpt from the C3 Gaming report:
“A recent study commissioned by the Casino Association of New Jersey projects gaming revenue losses based on smokers having to take breaks, which is the antithesis of one of the principles of responsible gaming…What the authors of that report unwittingly acknowledge is that a casino that prohibits smoking risks losing gaming revenue because a certain portion of players who smoke decide during their smoke break to walk away. In other words, they chose to play responsibly, and taking a periodic smoking break allowed them to do so. Their argument that a casino will make more money if smokers remain at their games is the antithesis of one of the principles of responsible gaming.”
Hallett noted the growing trend of states, Tribal communities and individual casinos opting to voluntarily operate smokefree indoors as well as the overwhelming response from casino workers organizing in multiple states calling on their elected officials to take action. She highlighted that all over the country, smokefree casinos are posting record profits and consistently outperforming their competitors that still allow indoor smoking.
ANR has been a regular participant at NCLGS meetings for many years. In 2009, ANR worked closely with NCLGS to pass a resolution supporting 100 percent smokefree gaming venues. That resolution affirmed that “NCLGS supports efforts of advocates to educate state legislators on the need for smoke-free gaming venues, to protect worker and patron health; and…that NCLGS supports state legislators’ efforts—to protect worker and patron health—to encourage 100 percent smoke-free gaming venues…”
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS’ RIGHTS
Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar laws. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit https://no-smoke.org/ and https://smokefreecasinos.org/.