No-Smoking Rule Begins at Shreveport Casinos, Call Renewed for Nevada Ban
Posted on: August 1, 2021, 01:57h.
Last updated on: August 1, 2021, 02:12h.
After a year-long delay, a ban on smoking in Shreveport, La., casinos began on Sunday. This comes as smoke-free advocates have renewed their call for a smoking ban in Nevada casinos.
In June 2020, the Shreveport City Council passed Ordinance No. 51, the Smoke-Free Air Act, to prohibit smoking in bars, casinos, and gaming facilities in the Northwest Louisiana city.
The act was to take effect on Aug. 8, 2020. However, the ban was delayed until Aug.1, 2021, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some officials were concerned the ban would erode the customer base and lead to casino job losses.
This year, in July, about a month before the ban was to start, City Council President James Flurry introduced an amendment to allow smoking in casinos.
At the time, Flurry told Casino.org a smoking ban at Shreveport’s two riverboat casinos would drive customers across the Red River to Bossier City. Gambling halls in Bossier City allow smokers to light up.
“We have to have a level playing field,” Flurry told Casino.org.
In 2020, Flurry voted to include casinos in the ban because the council thought Bossier City would do the same thing, he told Casino.org. When that didn’t happen, Bossier City received an unfair advantage, Flurry said.
“Until both are doing it simultaneously, it’s not going to work,” he said.
On July 13, the City Council tabled Flurry’s amendment, meaning casinos would be included in the smoking ban beginning this year on Aug. 1.
Randy Hayden, a Louisiana-based consultant for Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, told Casino.org “a good marketing campaign” will attract nonsmokers to Shreveport casinos.
Nevada Mask Mandate
As the Shreveport ban takes effect, smoke-free advocates are urging Nevada officials to ban smoking in Silver State casinos now that a mask mandate is in place in most of the state’s counties.
“It makes no sense to allow casino guests to remove their mask and blow secondhand smoke—along with droplets carrying a potentially life-threatening disease—into shared indoor air,” said Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, in a statement.
Following guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) has mandated face coverings in public indoor settings in 12 of Nevada’s 17 counties that have high COVID-19 transmission rates.
The mandate, which began Friday, includes casinos, and applies to people whether they are vaccinated or not. Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, is among the 12 counties with a high transmission rate.
Warnings About Las Vegas
As the delta variant spreads throughout Southern Nevada, health authorities in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Hawaii have cautioned against visiting Las Vegas because of its low vaccination rate and rising infections.
Hallett said now is the time to clamp down on smoking in Nevada casinos.
It’s a common sense step that will only help us to finally put COVID behind us,” she said.
Others contend the decision to go smoke-free should be left up to businesses.
“The casinos are private property, and the choice is up to the owners,” a reader identified as Connie Townsend wrote in the comment section of a previous Casino.org story.
Some casinos on the Las Vegas Strip already ban or limit smoking. Last year, Park MGM implemented a ban throughout the resort. The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas and newly opened Resorts World Las Vegas allow smoking on the gaming floor, but prohibit it elsewhere.
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