The rest of the nation has already done the obvious – Banned smoking of cigarettes indoors to preserve the health of guests and employees on the job. Smoking in casinos has been a target of governing bodies in a growing number of states. Jurisdictions that have taken action to date include Delaware, Illinois, and even the gambling mecca of Macau.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 15.5% of American adults identified as smokers in 2016, down from 20.9% in 2005. With a clear trend downward in smoking, how much longer will Las Vegas Casinos allow smoking? How much longer will employees that don’t smoke put up with the risks associated with the job? Will the non-smoking public continue to tolerate the habit indoors?
See Also: 95+ Completely FREE Things to do in Las Vegas!
Nevada Laws Around Smoking Protect Lighting Up in Casinos
Currently, the Nevada Clean Air Act bans smoking in all indoor establishments excluding Casinos, tobacco retail stores, strip clubs, brothels, private residences, and stand-alone bars prohibiting patrons under the age of 21. Smoking is not allowed in certain areas of the casino/resort though. Las Vegas restaurants, theaters, arcades, etc. are all required to be smoke-free.
Although only 15.5% of the population still smokes, casinos are resistant to changing the status quo and the reason is the immediate shot to revenue that has resulted from bans in other parts of the country. In a NOLA.Com article, Caesars Entertainment claimed Harrah’s New Orleans suffered a loss of $70 million in revenue over a 2-year period after a smoking ban was implemented.
Decreases in gaming revenue have also been seen in other jurisdictions that have banned smoking. Obviously, this is a situation that casino operators in Las Vegas would prefer to avoid.
The reason Las Vegas casinos want you to keep lighting up is clear – Smokers are statistically more loyal gamblers than non-smokers. A study from the University of Connecticut showed that “daily smokers gambled on more days and spent more money gambling; they also ‘craved’ gambling more and had lower perceived control over their gambling”. I’d want more smokers in my casino too!
Employee Concerns About Casino Smoking
While the public may have a choice to gamble or not at a casino that allows smoking, employees and dealers are often held hostage, exposed to a steady dose of carcinogens. A 2009 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study looked took urine samples from non-smoking casino dealers at 3 separate Las Vegas properties.
The results showed that “Casino dealers were found to have increasing levels of NNAL (a cigarette carcinogen) in their urine over an 8-hour work shift showing that the cigarette smoke and a carcinogen are being taken up into their bodies”.
Dealers have even taken to the picket line to protest smoking in Las Vegas casinos arguing that a state-wide ban would be the best way to protect employees.
We Asked Vegas Visitors on Social Media Their Opinion
On our Facebook page, we ran the most unscientific, unofficial, and likely unreliable poll ever. But hell, it’s likely just as accurate as political polling nowadays.
We asked the question “Should Las Vegas Casinos be smoke-free?” With the options being “yes” or “no”. The poll received 735 votes and 55% of respondents said they don’t want Las Vegas casinos to ban lighting up.
Slowly, The Tide is Turning
Recently, more and more resorts in Las Vegas have been asking their customers their thoughts on the topic. Several major resorts and chains have sent out surveys asking specifically about smoking and whether or not it should be allowed. In a massive first step, Park MGM even reopened as the first smoke-free casino in Vegas after the pandemic shutdowns.
There is an anti-smoking tide sweeping the world driven by fewer people smoking and increased concern for health and wellness. As much as some Vegas visitors will dislike it, eventually, corporations and governments alike will move to protect the majority from the smoking minority. Eventually, the health of many will be put ahead of profits and a dip in revenue.
If you can ban smoking in Macau, you can ban it anywhere.
While the answer to the question “Can you smoke in Las Vegas casinos?” may be yes today, the future may be a much different story.
Smoke ’em while you got ’em. It may not be tomorrow. It may not be next week or even next year, but you’ll eventually have to step outside, or into a special “smoking area” to burn in Las Vegas.
See Also: Resorts in Las Vegas that have smoking hotel rooms.
Feature Image: ©rattanakun/123RF.COM
I’m a former software salesman turned Vegas aficionado. While the craps table is my preferred habitat, I pull myself away to explore new attractions, shows, restaurants, and outdoor activities around Las Vegas with the intent of sharing my experiences.
Ultimately, I just want to help folks plan a better trip and save a few bucks in the process.
Tuesday 6th of July 2021
Stop at the the first sentence! "Governing bodies" are people that push their own agenda and their own way of seeing things. They use power to control and change things to satisfy their own personal values contrary to the general misbelief that they are there to serve the people, ALL the people. The argument could continue on for generations on a matter like this but when "Governing bodies" abuse their power to push a biased agenda we edge closer to socialism, communism, dictatorship... Every step takes us closer!
The smoking issue was and is easily solved by separate areas of the casino and building. A simple thing like pay employees slightly more for working in those areas. Guarantee you non of the employees will complain if they were making more money to be in that area. Again, this is about people pushing their own personal interest over freedom and individual choice. I dont smoke cigs , although I will light an occasional cigar. I enjoy the right to be able to do that during my leisure activities. Just like when I golf and smoke a cigar...is that next to be banned?
Saturday 16th of July 2022
@Carl FT, bribe people to endanger their health? Logic is beyond you selfish smokers. Cigarette smoke is a CLASS A CARCINOGEN. There is NO justification for FORCING others to breath YOUR cancerous smoke. It's simple, enjoy your smoking and keep your smoke to yourself. When you can do that, then you can smoke in public.
This is a no-brainer, for people with brains. Smokers are arrogant, abusive, selfish jerks, every one of them!
Tuesday 6th of July 2021
@Carl FT, Creating rules in a civilized society to curb undesirable behavior isn't "communist" or "socialist". By your logic, we shouldnt have speed limits, drunk driving laws, or rules around exposing yourself in public. Governing bodies in America are not dictatorial in nature, rather, reflect the will of the electorate that voted them into office. If they don't act in the interest of the people, they get voted out.
Just a heads up too... communism and socialism are economic systems and have little to nothing to do with rules about smoking in casinos.
Saturday 23rd of May 2020
The workers and patrons have the choice to NOT GO. It’s that simple. I don’t go to bars because I don’t drink. Alcohol kills a lot of people too.
Monday 20th of April 2020
Ok, so now what about smoking while C-19 is a risk? How are smokers going to wear masks, and carry on the repeated and to mouth movements which are being discouraged? Then they touch machines, cards, everything with their filthy hands that they have just had on their faces. Ick. And smaller casinos let people smoke whether they gamble or not. And they can bring their own smokes in! Can we bring in our own alcohol? Shouldn’t establishments treat them both the same? Isn’t this a bit inconsistent?
Smokey the Bear
Sunday 8th of March 2020
Vegas bound next week! I'm gonna smoke 3 at a time. When I don't have a heater in my jaw, I'll be blowing clouds of vape in the faces of anyone within 10ft. Can't wait to see those faces as I wait to collect my winnings!
Saturday 12th of March 2022
@Smokey the Bear, are you dead yet?.....
Wednesday 31st of July 2019
It takes a courageous CEO to take the first step. I hope that somewhere like Wynn tries the experiment. If they kept the original Wynn as a smoking venue and made Encore completely non smoking they could cater to both groups and measure the effect. If Encore really suffers then switch it back. But at least try. Imagine if Encore was more popular and profitable as a non smoking venue!! Then other casinos would follow and we would all be healthy!!
Sunday 4th of August 2019
I am so happy to hear that so many people are boycotting Las Vegas because of the smoking. My husband and I would love to go to Vegas, but when I visited there many years ago I couldn’t breathe in the casinos and absolutely will not return unless the casinos become nonsmoking!!!!! We will patronize the Delaware and New York casinos that care about the health and wellbeing of their customers and their employees.