Following three years of stalled negotiations, the bill banning smoking in Atlantic City casinos has finally been approved by New Jersey State Senate ‘s health committee in a 5-1 vote.
Smoking is only allowed on 25 per cent of the gaming floor in Atlantic City with any ban now facing a series of necessary approvals.
Nicola Vitola, a Borgata dealer and a leader of the movement to ban casino smoking, said: “Dealers are mere inches from players blowing smoke in our faces. By allowing casino workers to be exposed to deadly secondhand smoke, you are knowingly allowing social inequalities, health disparities and injustices to exist in our state. It is the duty of the New Jersey Legislature to make sure that every single worker in this state has a right to a clean, safe and healthy workplace free from toxic smoke.”
Donna DeCaprio, President of Local 54 of the Unite Here union believes the bill could see three casinos forced to close and 3,000 of the sector’s 50,000 casino jobs in Atlantic City eliminated.
“In south Jersey, there are no replacement jobs of this caliber,” she said. “A total ban is going to result in an economic catastrophe for Atlantic City, the region and the state.”
The Casino Association of New Jersey said it was eager ‘to find a meaningful compromise that will address the concerns of our employees without jeopardizing jobs and benefits to some of our most vulnerable citizens.’
Governor Phil Murphy, has though already confirmed, he is ready to sign a smoking ban into law.