Are Smoke-Free Casinos Here To Stay

The following post, Are Smoke-Free Casinos Here To Stay, considers the future of smoking in casinos. During the pandemic, the reopening of casinos turned many casinos into smokeless casinos. The casino blessed trinity of gambling, smoking, and drinking might be losing smoking for good.

Are Smoke-Free Casinos the “New Norm?”

Are Smoke Free Casinos Here To Stay

New England casinos are still smoke-free. All five Massachusetts and Maine gambling halls have always been smoke-free due to state legislation. Why Are Smoke Free Casinos So Controversial?

Historically, casino operators have long been resistant to banning smoking indoors, wary of alienating a segment of gamblers who prefer to light up while playing slots, blackjack, or other games. But, after the effects of the pandemic and casinos becoming smoke-free, the long debate about smoking in casinos appears to have reached a turning point.

Are Smoke Free Casinos Here To Stay
Oxford Casino, Oxford, ME, smoke free casino.

A Look Back

The history of gaming includes smoking a cigarette or cigar accompanied by an alcoholic drink. When non-smoking areas grew on casino floors, the nonsmoking areas underperformed rather dramatically.

But over the years, we have to understand the harm of second-hand smoke. Restrictions popped up for the casino staff’s health and safety, such as not smoking at the tables, cashier, and rewards desk. Clean Indoor Air Acts took care of restaurants, workplaces, and some public places.

But the chance to socialize at the local gambling hall with a group of friends, cigar in one hand and drink in the other, is still now under attack. There are at least 783 state-regulated gambling facilities that are required to be 100% smoke-free indoors. For a complete list of U.S. Smokefree Casinos and Gambling Facilities, click here.  In New England, Massachusetts and Maine are two of them.

Smoke-Free Areas in Casinos Don’t Work Very Well

New England's Casinos
Non-Smoking Tortoise Shell, Mohegan Sun, CT

Gaming operators, in efforts to address concerns about second-hand smoke, have long implemented measures to please everyone. But, the inherent problem with designated smoking areas, smoking rooms, and ventilation systems really don’t work as intended.

Bronson Frick, the director of advocacy for the nonprofit groups Americans for Nonsmokers Rights and the Americans Nonsmokers Rights Foundation, is reported as saying, “[These efforts] don’t stop the smoke from spreading and none of those approaches address the health hazard of second-hand smoke…”

Slots Influencer / Americans for Nonsmokers Rights Survey

But Brian Christopher, the founder of BC Slots, says the answer to the question “do patrons want to eliminate smoking?” is an unequivocal yes. In a joint project with the ANR, Christopher developed a survey concerning how slot players feel about gambling.

The results of the survey include:

  • 70% of gamblers admit they are bothered by smoking in casinos
  • 95% of respondents think smoking is a health hazard
  • 88% of smokers would choose a non-smoking casino over a smoking casino, provided there was an outdoor option, such as a smoking patio

Back to Christopher. Brian says the pandemic has forced casino operators to reassess their commitment to customer safety.

The installation of high-tech HVAC systems, air purifiers, and mask requirements are welcome developments.

Brian Christopher, the founder of BC Slots


Maybe it’s not the connection of COVID-19, smoking, and gambling that’s the concern. According to a new study by scientists from Stanford and Tufts’s universities published in the journal Environmental Research, each year, 50 million nonsmoking casino patrons and 400,000 nonsmoking casino workers gamble with their lives inside casinos that allow smoking. Less than 2 hours of exposure to secondhand smoke in half of the casinos surveyed is enough to impair the heart’s ability to pump blood, placing susceptible casino patrons and workers at acute risk of heart disease.

The old days of being met with a cloud and smell of smoke entering the casinos could be changing. By this summer, we’ll know where this is going.


Related Post – The Ultimate History of Gambling in New England

Binbin and

Miguel, Binbin, and Bert – The NETG Staff

Robin T. Aubin (AKA Binbin at NETimeGambling) has been a guest on Cousin Vito’s Casino Podcast, The Bettor Life Podcast, The Art in the Game Podcast Springfield, Massachusetts. as well as ZorkCast with Michael Trager.As the founder of NETimeGambling. He has tried to provide a resource for recreational gamblers featuring New England’s expanding casino market events, gambling promotions, and entertainment. Additionally, as a professional musician for over 50 years, he has performed in some New England’s best venues, namely Mohegan Sun’s Wolf Den, Foxwoods’ Atrium Lounge, and Twin River’s Lighthouse Bar & Lounge.

The goal of NETimeGambling is to provide a service and resource for any recreational gambler visiting New England’s expanding casino market and interested in gambling tips, news, advice, and the latest in events, gambling promotions, and entertainment.

Follow us on Twitter at @NETimeGambling, and on Facebook at NETimegambling. Join the New England Casinos Facebook Group and chat about experiences at our New England Casinos.