Workers rally to keep smoking ban at Atlantic City casinos
Atlantic City table game dealers rallied in the city on Wednesday in the hope that the nine casinos will remain smoke-free – a ban that was put in place during the pandemic. The ban is set to expire on Sunday.
"In my 20 years as a dealer, I’ve seen too many of my coworkers develop serious health issues directly related to secondhand smoke,” says Borgata dealer Nicole Vitola. "I was pregnant with my son, and I've had been in a high roller room with six people smoking cigars and I had to just stand there and deal, and I did."
Smoking was not allowed when casinos reopened last July.
“The ceilings are clear, there's no dust hanging off the ceilings. It's just fresh air,” says Vitola.
Atlantic City tourists say that they noticed the difference as well.
“For us, it’s much better. None of us smoke and it’s much more user-friendly going through playing in the casinos,” says Dan Sheehe, of Cumberland, Maryland.
The dealers are hoping that the state Legislature will work to make a permanent ban happen soon.
“We can be the first ones to make it nonsmoking through the state and then hopefully Pennsylvania will follow,” says Vitola.
Gov. Phil Murphy said on Wednesday that he would be open to the idea.
“I would be very constructive on that,” he said, regarding any future legislation that came his way.
Once the ban expires, smoking will be allowed in casinos, unless the casino itself has decided to be smoke-free. Smoking is not allowed on Atlantic City’s beaches.