Las Vegas Sun

February 28, 2015

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Casinos would lose customers by banning smoking

Regarding John Tominsky’s Monday letter to the editor, headlined “Casinos should respect patrons and ban smoking”:

I quit smoking 28 years ago, but I do recognize certain facts. Like it or not, gambling, smoking and drinking go together. Some casino patrons do smoke, especially in casinos that cater to tourists.

The last time I saw a Las Vegas casino, Silver City on Convention Center Drive, go completely nonsmoking, it went out of business. I was in there both before and after the smoking ban, and patronage was down more than 50 percent after.

By the time the casino tried to re-allow smoking, it was too late.

Some casinos have nonsmoking tables or small groups of nonsmoking machines, but those don’t help much. The few gray-haired people in senior complexes and elsewhere who choose not to patronize casinos that allow smoking will not really put a dent in their profit margins.

I was in a casino in Southern California recently that had a large room with gaming tables and many machines set aside for nonsmokers, and though the main room was very busy, the nonsmoking room was almost empty.

If, as Mr. Tominsky says, nonsmoking casinos will gain hundreds of customers, which I doubt, they will lose many hundreds more.

As far as smoking in casinos being a health hazard to employees, keep in mind that these employees knew about the smoking before they took the jobs.

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  1. Casinos will eventually ban smoking, but not until it makes economic sense. Right now, it doesn't, but eventually it will.


  2. Well, if banning smoking is not feasible, how about requiring better air filtration systems? Been in the M, Southpoint or Bellagio, to name a few? They don't stink to high heaven! Compare them to Fiesta Rancho, Texas Station or AZ Charlie's. UGH! They all stink from the nasty habit of smoking! It's 22 miles (one way) from where we live to M, but we're there more often than the others, which are much, much closer. I don't want to leave a place with the taste of tobacco in my mouth or its retched odor on my clothing!

  3. I side with those advocating a smoking ban in casinos.
    Employees are not generally in a strong enough position to have anything approaching equal bargaining power with their casino employer. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, the government should intervene to ban smoking in all workplaces. The health of the employees trumps the freedom of choice in this situation.
    Too bad the federal and state governments could not team up and ban smoking in all workplaces. Then the argument about losing business to a neighbouring state would no longer apply.

  4. "I side with those advocating a smoking ban in casinos."

    FromBellevilleCanada -- then stay in Canada and look up "relevance."

    "And a woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke." -- Rudyard Kipling "The Betrothed"

  5. If our customers were all Americans, smoking would have been banned before now. However, the growth part of our market is non-Americans, who tend to smoke. So why, exactly, must we commit economic suicide to satisfy the declining part of our market and drive away growth?