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Atlantic City smoking ban to fail in Nevada, expert says

The implementation of a smoking ban inside Atlantic City has gained a lot of traction lately since the New Jersey lawmakers announced their intention to pass the bill regarding this ban.

However, apparently, the smoking ban notion is not that popular inside the world capital of gambling, Las Vegas, Nevada.

There are more than 20 states have passed the ban or limited smoking inside casinos. Several states, such as Maryland, launched non-smoking casino floors. Pennsylvania chose to limit smoking as part of reopening procedure after the COVID-19 pandemic

According to Macquarie Securities analyst Chad Beynon, Nevada casinos’ main goal is now to regain the lost revenues due to the closure and lockdowns earlier in 2020, so the smoking ban will have a negative impact as it restricts consumers to smoke while they are gambling inside the building.

“I would assume that every state has to move closer toward this inevitability but given that the industry is the biggest employer of jobs in Nevada, there appears to be a strong enough fight against this,” Beynon said. “I don’t think the Strip would have that large of an impact, but in some of the older demographic locals markets, I would assume that it could be fairly significant.”

C3 Gaming consultant Andrew Klebanow, together with his two colleagues, wrote a report focusing on gamblers’ behavior and found that gamblers haven’t changed their habits since the COVID-19 pandemic, even when smoking was eliminated.

“Customers readily understood that mask mandates were incompatible with smoking and accepted the prohibition,” the authors said. “What was surprising was that, even after mask mandates were lifted and smoking prohibitions remained in place, customers collectively accepted it.

“Having successfully pushed smoking out of their buildings at no economic cost, tribal casino operators have resisted the temptation to re-introduce smoking in their properties.”

Klebanow, who has four decades of experience in casino business and lives in Las Vegas, convinced that if Nevada has to somehow pass the smoking ban bill, it will be the last state in the country to do so.

“The eastern states will flip first, then maybe the midwestern states,” he said in an interview. “If there is a dramatic resurgence in the pandemic, then some Indian casinos will make the move. The second to last state to flip will probably be Mississippi. Nevada will be dead last.”

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