No-Smoking Ban Starts at Shreveport Casinos, Call Recalled for Nevada Ban

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After an enduring delay, a smoking ban in Shreveport, La casinos began on Sunday. That comes after smoke-free promoters have renewed their call for a smoking ban in Nevada casinos.

The Shreveport City Council approved Ordinance No.51, the Smoke-Free Air Act, in June 2020, to prohibit smoking in casinos, gaming floors, and bars in the Northwest Louisiana city. The ban was to take effect on August 8, 2020. 

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the act was deferred until August 1, 2021. Some executives were worried the ban could affect the client base and cause losses to the casino business.

In July this year, about a month before the ban’s start, James Flurry, City Council President, brought in an amendment to permit smoking in casinos. Speaking with casino.org, Flurry said that a smoking ban at Shreveport’s two riverboat casinos could drive clients across the Red River to Bossier City. 

Bossier City sports betting halls permit smokers to light up. The president said, “We have to have a level playing field.”

In his report with casino.org in 2020, Flurry said that he voted to include casinos in the ban since the council thought Bossier City could do the same thing. He added that because that didn’t happen, Bossier received an undue advantage.

He said, “Until both are doing it simultaneously, it’s not going to work.”

The City Council proposed Flurry’s amendment on July 13, which means casinos would be included in the smoking ban that started on August 1 this year. In his statement with casino.org, a Louisiana-based consultant of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, Randy Hayden, said a good marketing campaign would allure nonsmokers to Shreveport casinos.

Nevada facial covering directive

With the Shreveport ban taking effect, smoke-free promoters are pleading with Nevada representatives to ban smoking in Silver State casinos now that a mask directive is in order in most of the state’s counties.

In her statement, the president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights said, “It makes no sense to allow casino guests to remove their masks and blow secondhand smoke along with droplets carrying a potentially life-threatening disease into shared indoor air.”

Hindering to the US Centers for Disease Control and |Prevention recommendation, Governor Steve Sisolak (D) has ordered face masks in public indoor facilities in 12 of Nevada’s 17 jurisdictions with high Coronavirus transmission rates. 

The directive started Friday last week and includes casinos and applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Clark County, a Las Vegas location, is among the 12 counties with increased transmission rates.

Toxic, Covid-mixed smoke

In his statement with Casino.org, Randy Hayden said that young casino patrons don’t want to work or visit casinos full of smoke. He said, “This generation is more health-conscious than the older generation that currently frequents a casino.” 

He further added, “Many of these casinos themselves have publicly stated their insistence they will offer a safe and healthy workspace for employees and customers during the COVID era. While there remains a dubious claim if they allow customers to pull down their masks and blow toxic.” 

Hayden said that permitting clients to smoke could introduce a problem for Las Vegas as gambling escalates nationwide. According to the American Gaming Association site, there are almost 1,000 casinos throughout the country, and as Hayden has noted, most offer nonsmoking facilities.

He said, “Gamblers bow recognize they can locally have a ‘what happens in Vegas’ outing and not have to choke their way through that experience.”

Most gaming facilities on the Las Vegas Strip have already banned or limited smoking. In 2020, Park MGM ordered a ban across the resort. The newly launched Resorts World Las Vegas and Cosmopolitan Las Vegas permit smoking in the gaming halls but prohibit it elsewhere.