This year marks the fifth anniversary of a smoke-free environment for patrons and employees of Colorado’s 40 casinos located in the cities of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. According to the nonprofit Smoke-Free Gaming of America, more than 9,000 people are employed by Colorado’s casinos. “By not promoting smoking and keeping indoor air uncontaminated from secondhand smoke, the gaming industry and its employees benefit in the short and long run,” says Stephanie Steinberg, founder of Smoke-Free Gaming of America, Greenwood Village, Colo. “Keeping casino customers healthy and not smoking could also result in 14 years of additional gaming revenue per non-smoker gambler.” (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smokers die an average of 14 years sooner had they not smoked.)
Of course many hotels house casinos and have yet to kick the smoking habit but there are now 20 states where casinos are entirely 100 percent nonsmoking. The states include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington. Puerto Rico, a U.S. Commonwealth, also prohibits smoking in casinos.
In Mississippi, only the Palace Casino in Biloxi is smoke free (a company policy). In Nevada, only the Fernley Nugget in Fernley is smoke free (a company policy). In New Jersey, gaming floors are 75 percent nonsmoking and the Revel Casino is smoke free (a company policy). In Pennsylvania, gaming floors are up to 50 percent nonsmoking. In West Virginia, 12 counties and the City of Parkersburg are nonsmoking. The Greenbrier Casino Resort is smoke free (a company policy).