New Jersey Casino Association Gets Smoking Ban Study It Paid For

like more New Jersey As pundits weigh in on the issue of a state casino smoking ban, opponents of the potential ban are flexing their monetary muscles. A recent smoking ban study is proof of this investment.

The report of the Spectrum Playgroup suggests that a smoking ban would have a detrimental effect on casino results. When consuming the results, it is important to note what is behind the study.

Smoking ban study suggests drop of up to 11% for Atlantic City

For the study, Spectrum looked at the casino revenue figures from NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement. He also spoke with casino employees, casino executives, customers and anti-tobacco advocacy groups.

Additionally, he looked at similar numbers for other states that have enacted smoking bans. New Jersey casinos may offer indoor smoking until 25% from their casino floors. A bill in the state legislature remove this allowance.

Spectrum’s report suggests that if this becomes law, Atlantic City casinos could lose up to 11% of their annual income. He also says the change could cause casinos to dismiss up to 2,500 people.

The report indicates that smokers represent 21% customers of Atlantic City casinos. It also suggests that they are worth more than non-smokers because they spend more on amenities when in casinos and tend to lose more money.

All of this paints a bleak picture if you simply read the report without considering its context or why the study took place. This context and motivation are crucial to objectively consuming the report and its findings.

What’s behind this study in New Jersey?

The first and perhaps most important thing to note is that the New Jersey Casino Association commissioned this study. The objective of the study was to determine whether Atlantic City casinos’ claims that a smoking ban would negatively affect their businesses have any basis in reality.

According to Spectrum’s findings, it does. It is imperative to note a few things, however.

First, the report recognizes that some people avoid casinos because of the smoke in the air and would be more likely to visit and/or spend more time there if the sites were smokeless. However, the study indicates that this would not compensate for the loss of smoking customers.

At the same time, the study reports that 13% people who smoke in AC casinos would continue to visit even if the state ends the smoking ban exemption for casinos. It is possible that these people are playing or spending less, however.

There’s a big chunk of important context that the report largely overlooks. It’s the fact that these same casinos have just gone through a period of no smoking and have shown that they can not only be as successful, but actually better than they are now.

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Atlantic City casinos not hurt by temporary smoking ban

From July 2020 for July 2021, Atlantic City casino patrons could not smoke inside. Casino capacity was also limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Their amenities have been cut and hours shortened. Customers were also required to wear face masks indoors.

Amidst these changes, casinos have actually surpassed their previous numbers.

In the first quarter of 2021, Atlantic City casinos combined to generate 11% more revenue than in the first quarter of 2019. This matches what casinos at other locations have seen. American Gaming Association CEO Bill Miller stated that casino operators did not see the “harmful effects” of temporary bans.

The big question is whether casinos can expect customers to behave the same way if a Permanent ban gets ready ? Did Atlantic City casino patrons treat the situation as extraordinary and overlook the lack of smoking availability?

The Spectrum study suggests that AC casinos have a reason to fight the smoking ban. This is exactly what they did by commissioning this study.

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