Americans for Nonsmokers Rights is an advocacy group in the United States that would like to see smoking fully banned in casinos. This week, the group stated that operators in the nation should not be provided COVID-19 relief funds unless they agree to go smoke-free. The group is currently seeking assistance from the American Gaming Association before its semi-annual board meeting takes place today.
A letter was sent to Bill Miller, the CEO of the AGA, by the advocacy group. In the letter, the group said they agree that the gaming industry needs the federal tax relief to help with the financial hardship from the pandemic. However, they feel that because the pandemic involves respiratory issues and indoor smoking will promote the spread of the virus. They feel the casinos need to ban smoking now as well as permanently to promote a healthy environment.
The letter was written by CEO of the Berkley-based Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, Cynthia Hallett. Ms. Hallett said that Miller needs to use his position within the AGA to argue that members should take on the smart policy of non-smoking indoors.
The AGA has not responded to the letter at this time, though we expect they will. Miller and other gaming representatives have tried to see the casino industry receive federal relief to aid those who have been furloughed or laid off due to the pandemic. They want to see funds offered so the travel and tourism industries can be boosted once again.
Right now, in the United States, almost 24 states require that gaming properties be 100% smoke free. Many states now open casinos as smoke-free facilities from the onset. Over 130 tribal casinos are also smoke free.
During the pandemic, states like Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have placed a temporary ban on smoking inside their venues. This was due to the potential spread of COVID-19.