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Smoking Ban Takes Effect in Atlantic City

Andrew Nagy
Posted: October 16, 2008

A ban that prohibits all casino floor smoking went into effect October 15 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, five days after the city's gaming industry reported the largest monthly revenue decline in its 30-year history. However, the ban could be only temporary, if casino owners have their way.

Passed by the City Council of Atlantic City in April, the new ban was met with opposition by casino owners. They feared casino-goers would flock to smoker-friendly gambling sites in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

The numbers show that casino revenue in Atlantic City was down 15.1 percent in September when compared to the same month a year ago. Industry numbers have been steadily declining for about a year now.

Larry Mullin, president of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, believes that the addition of a blanket-smoking ban will encourage further losses.

"The timing is the worst possible time to implement a smoking ban," Mullin told the Associated Press. He thinks declines will worsen by as much as 25 to 30 percent.

Casino owners pressured the city council to delay the ban, under grounds of economic duress, and city lawmakers obliged. But before officials can legally delay the ban, an official vote is needed.

This vote was scheduled for October 22, but since there won't be enough councilmembers present to pass the ordinance, it has been rescheduled for October 27.

In the meantime, casinos must adhere to the law, and for the first time in history, gamblers can't smoke on the floor of an Atlantic City casino.

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