A lobby to pressure reopening tribal casinos to go smoking free has been made by the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.
As tribal casinos start to reopen with new COVID safety measures in place, Indian Country Today’s news report interviewed the foundation’s Director of Advocacy, Bronson Frick, regarding the movement.
Frick talked of how the pandemic may have accelerated the progress of the cause: “There was already significant momentum on the trend for smoke free casinos before the pandemic.
“However with renewed interest in respiratory health and the impact that can have on business and perceptions of safety going into a building, the trend has continued at an unprecedented rate.”
In the United States there are already nearly 800 smoke free casinos and gambling venues, most of those being the commercial state regulated venues.
Frick praised sovereign tribes for their implementation of smoke free policies during the pandemic as part of their reopening plans: “That really drove a lot of this recent momentum. In response to the early leadership of tribes on this issue now we have seen commercial operators and states really following their lead.”
Having analysed the nationwide impact of the coronavirus on casinos and enterprises as well as tribal casinos around the world, Frick was asked about his opinion of the potential economic ramifications of prohibiting smoking indoors in venues, Frick responded: “Right now regardless of smoking status, gaming revenue is obviously down. It’s been a lot of disruption, traditional players may have lost their jobs, there’s less discretionary spending. Even casinos that do still have smoking, like those in Las Vegas, there’s been a massive decline in gaming revenue.
“Today 90% of young adults are none smokers, that’s like Gen Z and Millenials and with seniors Americans aged 65 and over, 92% are none smokers.
“This really supplies an opportunity for casinos to re-open after deep-cleaning, really maximising that investment in creating a safe welcoming environment for everyone.
“What we’re finding from various surveys is, even many smokers who are gaming enthusiasts also prefer a smoke free indoor environment. People don’t want to necessarily breathe other people’s smoke. Stepping outside to a patio is a modification that is not that big of a change for players but it does keep the indoor air fresh and welcoming for everyone.”
You can watch the full interview at Indian Country Today’s YouTube channel here