The rest of the country has already taken the obvious step of prohibiting smoking indoors to protect the health of visitors and staff. In a rising number of states, governing bodies have made it illegal to smoke in casinos. Delaware, Illinois, and even Macau, the gambling capital of the world, have all taken action so far.
Only 15.5 percent of American adults were classified as smokers in 2016, down from 20.9 percent in 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much longer will Las Vegas casinos allow smoking, given the evident declining trend in smoking? How much longer will non-smoking employees put up with the hazards of their jobs? Will non-smokers continue to put up with the habit indoors?
Smoking in casinos is protected under Nevada law.
The Nevada Clean Air Act now prohibits clients under the age of 21 from smoking in all indoor venues except casinos, tobacco retail stores, strip clubs, brothels, private residences, and stand-alone bars. However, smoking is prohibited in specific parts of the casino/resort; for example, all Las Vegas restaurants, theatres, and arcades must be smoke-free.
Despite the fact that only 15.5 percent of the population smokes, casinos are adamant about maintaining the status quo, owing to the rapid boost in revenue that has occurred from smoking prohibitions in other parts of the country. According to a NOLA.Com article, Caesars Entertainment alleged that a smoking ban cost Harrah’s New Orleans $70 million in revenue over a two-year period. Other jurisdictions that have banned smoking have likewise noticed a drop in gambling revenue. Clearly, this is not a good position for Las Vegas casino owners.
Smokers are statistically more loyal gamblers than non-smokers, which is why Las Vegas casinos want you to keep smoking. Daily smokers “gambled on more days and spent more money gambling; they also ‘craved’ gambling more and had weaker perceived control over their gambling,” according to a study from the University of Connecticut. I’d want to see more smoking in my casino as well!
Employees’ Concerns About Smoking in Casinos
Employees and dealers are often held captive, exposed to a continual dose of carcinogens, while the general public has a choice whether or not to gamble at a casino that allows smoking. In a 2009 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urine samples were collected from non-smoking casino dealers at three different Las Vegas casinos. “Over an 8-hour work shift, casino dealers were shown to have increasing amounts of NNAL (a cigarette carcinogen) in their urine, indicating that cigarette smoke and a carcinogen are being taken up into their systems,” according to the findings.
Dealers have even gone on strike to protest smoking in Las Vegas casinos, claiming that a state-wide ban would be the most effective approach to safeguard staff.
On social media, we polled Vegas visitors. Their Point of View
We conducted the most unscientific, unofficial, and possibly unreliable poll ever on our Facebook page. But, in today’s world, it’s probably just as accurate as political polls.
“Should Las Vegas Casinos be smoke-free?” we wondered. There are two options: “yes” or “no.” A total of 735 people voted in the poll, with 55 percent saying they don’t want casinos in Las Vegas to prohibit people from lighting up.
The Tide is Slowly Turning
In recent months, a growing number of Las Vegas establishments have enquired about their guests’ opinions on the subject. Several large resorts and companies have sent out polls asking whether smoking should be permitted. Park MGM even reopened as the first smoke-free casino in Vegas after the epidemic shutdowns, which was a huge first step.
There is an anti-smoking wave sweeping the globe, fueled by fewer people smoking and heightened health and wellbeing concerns. As much as some visitors to Vegas may despise it, corporations and governments will eventually take steps to protect the majority from the smoking minority. Many people’s health will eventually take precedence over profits and income declines.
If Macau can outlaw smoking, so can the rest of the world.
While the current answer to the question “Can you smoke in Las Vegas casinos?” is yes, the future may be very different.
While you’ve got ’em, smoke ’em. It’s possible that it won’t be tomorrow. You’ll have to step outdoors, or into a special “smoking area,” to burn in Las Vegas, whether it’s next week or next year.