Casino events

New Jersey: Poll Shows Residents Oppose Casino Expansion; focus on limiting smoking rather than a complete ban

According to the results of a Fairleigh Dickinson University surveya majority of New Jersey residents don’t want to see casino gaming expanded to other parts of the state. Additionally, as Atlantic City casino workers struggle to build support for a workplace smoking ban, the poll showed that a small number of residents support a total smoking ban in the area.

The results of the survey were released by the University on Thursday, showing that 51% of 801 residents surveyed oppose new state casinos, while only 37% support it. New Jersey is currently home to nine physical casinos, all located in Atlantic City.

The opposition spreads through political affiliation because a majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents agree on the issue. Only one age group (31-44) supports expansion, representing 47% to 39% of respondents. However, this is offset by New Jersey seniors, who oppose it by 65% ​​by a 25% margin.

The subject returns once again as New York is expected to begin a process soon to award up to three new casino licenses in the state. Licenses should be granted to sites in or around New York.

Dan Cassino, professor of politics and government at the FDU and executive returning officerpointed out that views on casino expansion in New Jersey have been “crystallized” for years. “None of the arguments that have been made for expansion have made a difference,” he said. The numbers from the latest poll are almost identical to the results of a similar FDU poll six years ago.

According to Cassin, competition from new casinos soon to open in New York and the “endless search for new sources of revenue” are pushing the state to do the same. “But if the state wants these casinos, it’s going to have to change its mind a lot,” he added.

Opposition to casino expansion is perhaps one of the few remaining bipartisan issues in the state, where 50% of Democrats oppose it, along with 54% of Republicans and 53% of independents. Any expansion of casinos would require a vote on a constitutional amendment. In 2016, such an amendment failed, 77 to 23.

With regard to the potential introduction of a smoking ban, only 29% expressed their intention to see it applied in casinos, creating a truly smoke-free casino experience. On the other hand, 57% said smoking should be limitedsupporting the status quo on smoking in casinos. The remaining 12% said customers should be able to smoke anywhere.

Trenton lawmakers are considering a bill to extend the state’s smoke-free law to casinos. Property workers support the legislation, but operators fear an outright ban could threaten incomes and jobs.

Cassino described the smoking ban issue as “a balancing act” for lawmakersbecause it protects workers from second-hand smoke, but no one wants to risk hurting the casino’s bottom line and having to bail out Atlantic City.

Smoking was banned in most interior areas of New Jersey in 2006. However, casinos remained an exception. Today, Atlantic City properties allow smoking in about a quarter of their gaming areas.

Back in October, a group of Atlantic City casino employees opposing indoor smoking announced plans to expand their efforts beyond New Jersey. The Casino employees against the effects of tobacco (TO CEASE) group, which was formed last year with the goal of protecting casino workers from second-hand smoke, has unveiled its ambitions to expand into new states like G2E held in Las Vegas, proving the growing importance of the issue and debate around smoking in casinos.

In addition to plans for Nevada, CEASE has opened a new social media group dedicated to Pennsylvania, confirming an expansion into the Keystone State. Elsewhere during their visit to Vegas, the band members approached industry stakeholders in an effort to garner support for their cause. Among them is slot machine influencer Brian Christopherwho reportedly promised not to visit smoke-free casinos until January, according to the group.

September also brought together the leaders of the main game companies during the last edition of the East Coast Gaming Congress in New Jersey. The event took place amid protests by Atlantic City casino workers outside Hard Rock, demanding that a bill banning smoking in indoor casinos be passed in the state.

Although many of the industry’s pressing issues were covered at the conferenceone was notably absent from the main lineup: smoking inside casinoslike a panel on the matter was canceled days before the meeting after Mark Giannantonio, chief of the New Jersey Casino Associationgot out The week before.

Angered that the session to discuss the proposed smoking ban was stifled, casino workers and patrons opposed to the idea of ​​smoking in gambling halls staged a protest outside the meeting. About 100 people gathered in the rain under a walkway outside Hard Rock AC, demanding that the state Legislature act on a bill that has the support of more than half of lawmakers in the State and Governor Phil Murphy, but was blocked without a Senate or House Committee hearing.

Roundtable on smoking in casinos canceled amid longstanding opposition from Atlantic City’s casino trade association to a ban. Giannantonio previously said the CANJ had been “very transparent” in its stance that an immediate smoking ban would have a “significant adverse effect” on Atlantic City, apparently the reason the association decided not to participate in the panel session.