Pennsylvania Sets Revenue Record With Temporary Smokefree Policy in Place
Smokefree Casinos Are Good for Business Because Guests Want Clean Air
April 16, 2021
Berkeley, CA — Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, released the following statement after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported a monthly revenue record last month:
“This revenue record is a clear sign that Pennsylvania should remain smokefree, even after the pandemic, because it’s a win-win-win: workers and guests breathe clean air, casinos generate additional profits and the Commonwealth earns greater tax revenue. Old arguments from the industry fighting smokefree policies no longer hold water. We’re glad to see Pennsylvania casinos thriving and providing a safe, healthy environment for their workers and guests. We urge them to make this successful smokefree policy permanent.”
Pennsylvania has a temporary smokefree policy in place as part of COVID-19 protocols. Casinos in Maryland and Ohio — two states that ensure smokefree casinos by law — also posted record revenue totals for the month of March. The three states offer the latest evidence that smokefree indoor policies are popular with customers and therefore good for business.
In Pennsylvania, “revenue generated from all forms of gaming and fantasy contests during March 2021 was $403.1 million, a 162% increase compared to revenue generated in March 2020…The previous monthly record was October 2020, when revenue reached $320.2 million.”
In Ohio, revenue “totaled $215.9 million in March, crushing the record of $184.2 million set in March 2019, according to monthly reports released by the state’s casino control and lottery commissions.”
In Maryland, casinos “recorded the state’s single highest revenue month – $169.2 million – as capacity restrictions put in place in response to COVID-19 were lifted. The state’s Lottery and Gaming Commission said Monday the revenue figure from the state’s six casinos was 146.4% higher than the $68.7 million from last March…The new monthly record eclipsed the $163.3 million Maryland’s casinos produced in March 2019.”
More and more casinos nationwide are going smokefree. At least 160 sovereign Tribal gaming venues have implemented 100% smokefree policies during COVID-19, 23 states require commercial casinos to be smokefree indoors, and nearly 1,100 gaming properties do not permit smoking indoors. Opinion research routinely, and increasingly, shows the vast majority of guests prefer smokefree indoor casinos. That’s not surprising considering that among young adults, 90 percent are nonsmokers.
Last month, the CDC singled out smokefree indoor casino policies as a “public health win,” the impact of which is “immeasurable in terms of not only protecting the public who attend these venues, but also workers who are working eight hours or more per day in these environments.”
ANR and BCSlots last month released a new sample player survey tool that will help casinos better understand their customers’ expectations on smokefree environments.
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 law. 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/.