Apparently duty of care has gone by the board since the credit crunch bit. The smoking ban, passed in April and introduced in Atlantic City in October, has been repealed despite the ban having been described by the city council as a duty of care to casino workers. Patrons of New Jersey’s eleven Atlantic City casinos will once again be able to light up and puff away at leisure.
From the casino operators’ point of view, the lifting of the ban brings a little light into the generally gloomy atmosphere surrounding falling gaming revenues. At least for one year the Atlantic City casinos now will have their level playing field on which to compete with the slots operations of neighbouring states such as Pennsylvania, and the city council will have the prospect of better tax revenue.
By the end of the year Atlantic City will have to readdress the issue and decide whether to reintroduce a partial smoking ban, ban smoking totally or abandon the idea of protecting casino workers from the effects of second-hand smoke. One thing is certain, there are unlikely to be many casino operators willing or able to commit the necessary funding for the construction of smoking rooms with state-of-the-art ventilation systems any time soon. (E-11.17.08)
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