New Law Could Restrict Smoking at Pennsylvania Gambling Operations

New Law Could Restrict Smoking at Pennsylvania Gambling Operations

A new bill presented by Squirrel Hill Democratic Representative Dan Frankel could make Pennsylvania casinos smoke-free. House Bill 2298 seeks to amend the Clean Indoor Air Act.

Wider outreach of the bill

Rep. Frankel’s bill suggests a ban on smoking in outdoor stadiums as well as all indoor public spaces. Previously, casinos in the state allowed their patrons to smoke in designated smoking areas. However, Frankel suggests that it’s a no-brainer to make all indoor public spaces and workplaces smoke-free. He added,

“From a public health, economic and social perspective, HB2298 ensures clean indoor air is not only for some workers or some establishments.”

New Law Could Restrict Smoking at Pennsylvania Gambling Operations

The US Department of Health and Human Services suggests that 17% of residents of Pennsylvania smoke on a regular basis. Though the number is down from 22.4% in 2012, lung diseases caused by smoking are responsible for 22,000 deaths here. In closed indoor environments where smoking is allowed, people could be exposed to secondhand smoke. According to the Center for Disease Control, secondhand smoke can also contain up to 7,000 chemicals of which 70 can cause cancer. It could cause ear infections, respiratory infections, lung cancer, stroke, and heart diseases as well.

Pennsylvania’s casinos and smoking

Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act was passed in 2008 and banned smoking in all workplaces and indoor public places. However, it also added certain exemptions to the law because of which drinking establishments, cigar lounges, private clubs, and casinos were allowed to let patrons smoke. The law allows casinos to mark 50% of their area as designated for smoking. Interestingly, it has 1.866 establishments that have smoking exemptions. The state has received a ‘D’ from the American Lung Association because of this large number of smoking venues.

The state has 12 casinos as of February 2020 but it is going to add the Live! Casino Philadelphia and four satellite venues to the list. All casinos have designated smoking areas. Note that the casinos in some other states have blamed smoking bans for their declining revenues. The state’s oldest gaming operator Penn National supports the existing laws.

The company’s VP of Public Affairs and Government Relations, Jeff Morris, said that smoking has always been a part of casinos in the Keystone state. He also said that they are looking to be leaders in the extremely competitive casino industry and it would be vital for them to continue with the existing laws. He also said that its Hollywood Casino used a powerful air filtration system that always keeps high-quality indoor air.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.