Gaming regulators in two of the largest casino markets in the country have lifted the last of their remaining COVID restrictions as gamblers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are able to smoke inside again.
According to the Associated Press, the year-long ban on smoking inside Atlantic City casinos expired last weekend, which allowed smokers to resume smoking indoors once again. A nearly identical ban in neighboring Pennsylvania expired as well.
The main difference between the two states is how the casinos have responded to the lifting of the ban. In New Jersey, all nine Atlantic City casinos have resumed smoking inside. Whereas, in Pennsylvania, only three properties resumed indoor smoking.
According to a Pittsburgh CBS affiliate, Rivers Casino, Live! Pittsburgh Casino and the Meadows Casino are the only properties to resume smoking and will only allow it to be done in designated smoking areas. New Jersey casinos also implemented designated smoking areas, which will make up about 20% of the gaming floor.
There is a fair amount of pushback against the resumption of smoking inside the state’s casinos. There was a rally last month on the Atlantic City Boardwalk calling for Murphy to ban smoking in casinos. Murphy never committed to signing legislation that would prohibit it, if it reached his desk, but said he would be “very constructive” on the issue.
The Casino Association of New Jersey, the trade group that represents Atlantic City casinos, fully supports a smoking ban and said it would have positive “long-term financial implications for the industry and the region.”