October 15, 2019

Smokefree Casinos Becoming a Business Imperative as Investors Increasingly Focus on Social Responsibility

Casinos transition to smokefree policies to increase commitment to workers, customers and community

As investors call on brands to behave responsibly by adopting environmental social governance (ESG) policies, casinos are responding by increasingly adopting smokefree policies that create safer environments for workers, customers and the communities they serve, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANR Foundation). Casino industry leaders, many of whom gathered this week in Las Vegas, Nev., for the annual Gaming Expo (G2E) — the largest gathering of global, commercial and tribal gaming professionals in North America — are faced with socially conscious investors and customers who expect brands to lead with purpose and put the health and safety of employees first.

“Creating a smokefree environment is no longer just a public health issue; it’s a business imperative. In the past, casinos and other entertainment venues got a pass as people just accepted that they had to put up with secondhand smoke in that environment, but no more,” said Cynthia Hallett, MPH, president and CEO of the foundation. “Today we have nearly 800 smokefree casinos and other gambling venues in the United States. We still have a long way to go, but we are making progress.1

Smokefreecasinos.org, a program of the ANR Foundation, notes that thanks to smokefree workplace laws in more than 20 states, several cities and a growing number of sovereign Native American Tribes now have a 100% indoor smokefree requirement2. Hallett says one key driver of this progress is the future face of gaming.

“Nine out of 10 young adults are nonsmokers3. Millennials favor doing business with values-driven companies4. These trends can impact a casino’s ability to attract future customers and be an employer of choice for a large and diverse workforce.” In addition to a large portion of younger segments being smokefree, 92 percent of Americans 65 and older are nonsmokers5.

An August 2019 Business Roundtable statement redefining the purpose of corporations highlighted the need to support communities they serve through such things as sustainability, protecting the environment as well as investing in employees.

For casinos and other gaming facilities this includes creating better labor conditions for workers. Operators leading the change include Gaming and Leisure Properties and JACK Entertainment, who have 100 percent and 95 percent of employees now in smokefree environments, respectively6. MGM, which has 18 casinos in the US, now has four smokefree properties. Others showing progress are Penn National Gaming, Boyd Gaming, Wynn Resorts, Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment7. Visit smokefreecasinos.org for more information about how brands’ smokefree policies compare.

About Smokefree Casinos and the ANR Foundation
Smokefree Casinos is a program of the The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANR Foundation), a non-lobbying, educational nonprofit organization (501 (c) 3), which creates comprehensive programs for youth of all ages on issues of smoking prevention, the benefits of smokefree air and the right to breathe smokefree air. It provides educational resources for schools, health departments, medical organizations and others interested in the issues surrounding smoking and secondhand smoke. The Foundation’s goals are to raise a smokefree generation that rejects tobacco use and tobacco industry manipulation and interference tactics, and to educate the community about the health effects of secondhand smoke and the benefits of smokefree environments.

For more information including press materials, please visit: https://no-smoke.org and https://smokefreecasinos.org/.

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  1. Smokefreecasinos.org, Casinos Overview Fact Sheet, pg. 2 https://smokefreecasinos.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf/SCF-4-Pager-Web.pdf
  2. Casino City Press; American Nonsmokers’Rights Foundation
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office on Smoking and HealthNational Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion “Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States.” 2017
  4. Forrester. “Millennials Call For Values-Driven Companies, But They’re Not The Only Ones Interested.” Forbes. May 23, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forrester/2018/05/23/millennials-call-for-values-driven-companies-but-theyre-not-the-only-ones-interested/#362ab3675464.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office on Smoking and HealthNational Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion “Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States.” 2017
  6. Smokefreecasinos.org
  7. Smokefreecasinos.org