Study analyzes impact of Atlantic City casino smoking ban

Efforts to ban cigarette smoking in Atlantic City casinos have gained momentum 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 approximately 1 in 5 gamers in Atlantic City are smokers. The study found that a smoking ban would lower gross gaming revenue between 5% and 11.9% among customers who smoke.

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

Retail casinos in Atlantic City won $2.5 billion from players in 2021, according to state figures. This does not include income from online gambling or sports betting.

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

“We spoke with the real estate or financial managers of seven of the nine [Atlantic City] casinos,” Spectrum said in its report. “They have provided us with proprietary performance data regarding smoking versus non-smoking areas, on the condition that neither they nor their properties are disclosed.”

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

“We estimate that a smoking ban would result in a $10.7 million to $25.7 million decrease in New Jersey State gaming tax revenue for the Casino Revenue Fund and between $1.7 million and $4 million, $0 million for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority,” according to Spectrum.

Falling incomes could lead to hundreds of job losses, the group added.

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