LAS VEGAS – When MGM Resorts reopens its last closed property on the Strip, guests will not be able to light cigars or cigarettes at card tables or slot machines.
It’s because Park MGM and NoMad to reopen September 30 as the only smoke-free resort on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Visitors will find notices like this inside the casino:
The properties will have three designated smoking areas:
- Carpool area: located next to the main hall.
- NoMad Porte Cochère
- Central Park Terrace: Located on the second floor of the convention center.
“As we looked into our reopening,” said Anton Nikodemus, COO of Park MGM, in a statement, “we identified an opportunity to meet recurring customer demand for an entirely uninvited casino complex. -smoker on the Strip “.
The law protects smoking in casinos, but resorts have a choice
As a result of the deadly and contagious disease that has killed more than 200,000 people across the country, smoking inside casinos has resurfaced as a defining detail for tourists planning a post-pandemic vacation.
Lighting on gaming tables and slot machines is protected by Nevada law, making it difficult for government officials to ban smoking in casinos. But the casinos have the choice to allow it inside their properties or not.
Although the Silver State introduced the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act in 2006, the law doesn’t quite apply to the Strip.
The law defines where people can smoke inside Nevada, as opposed to where they can’t – and the list of where smoking is okay is long:
- Strip clubs and brothels
- Tobacco shops
- Autonomous bars and taverns aged 21 and over
- Any area inside casinos where loitering by minors is prohibited, usually near gaming tables and slot machines
- Some convention centers
- Outdoor areas of restaurants
In May, a Nevada resident wrote in an email to the Nevada Gaming Control Board that she would never set foot in a casino if people were allowed to smoke during the pandemic. Nevada Deputy Attorney General Darlene Caruso said:
“The legislature has specifically declared that smoking is not prohibited in casinos and the law even includes a provision stating that any regulation inconsistent with this would be null and void,” Caruso said. “The hands of the council are tied.”
Vegas has long resisted smoking bans
For many years, casino executives have argued that a smoking ban would derail gambling in Nevada, highlighting losses in gambling revenue in Atlantic City, Delaware and Illinois, where such bans have siphoned off gambling. smoke from casinos and gambling establishments.
“Historically, other jurisdictions that have banned smoking in casinos have seen their revenues drop by about 15% in the short term,” said expert and author David Schwartz of the University of Nevada.
A study commissioned by the Las Vegas and Reno-Sparks Chambers of Commerce in the late 1990s predicted dire consequences if smoking were to be banned in casinos, according to the Associated Press.
Players left tables for 12 minutes every hour to light up, according to the study. These smoke breaks would represent significant losses:
- A loss of $ 1.9 billion for the casino industry over five years.
- First year sales tax loss of $ 50 million.
- The loss of 20,000 to 30,000 jobs in the first year.
What Science Says About Smoking, COVID-19
Dr Meilan Han, a pulmonologist at Michigan Medicine and professor at the University of Michigan, told USA TODAY that while most research on the new coronavirus suggests that older people are more likely to be hospitalized and die from the disease. disease, there are other factors that put young people at risk.
“People have speculated on what some of the risk factors might be. We don’t have a lot of published data from the United States, so we are looking at the small pieces of published data that come from China,” says Han. “What they’re seeing is that one of the risk factors… seems to be smoking.”
A report suggests that smokers have a 14 times higher risk of serious illness with COVID-19 infection than non-smokers, she said.
“We don’t have a lot of data on vaping at the moment, but there is reason to speculate that things that cause lung inflammation like smoking, like vaping, could increase the risk of more serious illness.” , she said.
Contribution: USA TODAY, Associated Press.