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Study Analyzes Impact Of Potential Atlantic City Casino Smoking Ban

Gambling Revenue From Retail Play Could Fall As Much As 11%

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Efforts to ban smoking cigarettes inside Atlantic City casinos has gained steam recently, and a new study commissioned by the Casino Association of New Jersey has outlined some of the possible impacts.

The study, conducted by Spectrum Gaming Group, found that roughly 1-in-5 Atlantic City gamblers are smokers. The study found that a smoking ban would result in a gross gaming revenue decline of between 5% and 11.9% among guests who smoke.

Non-smokers who gamble could increase their gambling spending by 1 to 1.5%. On a net basis, a smoking ban would cause an industry gambling win decline of between 4.2% and 10.9%.

Atlantic City retail casinos won $2.5 billion from gamblers in 2021, according to state figures. That doesn’t include the revenue from online gambling or sportsbooks.

The study looked at gambling revenue impacts when smoking bans were implemented in casinos in states like Delaware and Illinois, and in the city of New Orleans.

“We spoke with the property or finance heads of seven of the nine [Atlantic City] casinos,” Spectrum said in its report. “They provided us with proprietary performance data regarding smoking areas vs. nonsmoking areas, on the condition that neither they nor their properties be disclosed.”

Gambling wouldn’t be the only offering impacted by a smoking ban. The study found that the casinos’ non-gaming revenue could decline between 3% and 6.5% on an annual basis.

“We estimate a smoking ban would lead to declines in State of New Jersey gaming-tax receipts of between $10.7 million and $25.7 million to the Casino Revenue Fund and between $1.7 million and $4.0 million to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority,” according to Spectrum.

The decline in revenues could lead to hundreds of job losses, the group added.