New Bill Proposes to Eliminate Smoking Inside Casinos in Kansas

During the pandemic a few years ago, casinos across the United States temporarily banned smoking indoors. While in some venues, this policy lasted as long as the pandemic did, others saw an opportunity to eliminate indoor smoking, leaving the ban permanently. For years, the sector warned about decreases in visitation and gaming revenues as a result of the implementation of an indoor smoking ban. Yet, more media reports and data disclosed by casinos hint that those fears may be unfound.

Currently, close to a dozen US states allow smoking inside casinos. Kansas is one of those states, where efforts against the elimination of smoking lol646 on the casino floors continue. Earlier this week, a new proposal was introduced, calling for closing the existing loophole that permits smoking inside casinos across the state. Details regarding the proposal, House Bill 2622 (HB 2622), were released earlier this week.

Sponsors of the bill include Reps. Owen Donohoe, David Buehler, Sydney Carlin, Ford Carr, and Dennis Highberger. On Tuesday, HB2622 was introduced and referred to the House’s Committee on Health and Human Services. The next move for the proposal is a hearing scheduled for next week Wednesday, February 7, 2024.

Anti-smoking Group Supports the New Proposal

The latest effort of lawmakers in the state was met with approval from the group of casino workers fighting against smoking inside casino establishments, Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) Kansas. Joe Hafley, CEASE Kansas’ founder and security employee at Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, who was cited by KCTV, highlighted the long-term efforts of casino workers to eliminate indoor smoking.

“For too long, casino workers like myself have had to endure the hazardous conditions of secondhand smoke, all in the name of a paycheck.“

Joe Hafley, founder of CEASE Kansas

Explaining that he participated in this fight, he said it was devastating to see how people are forced to accept hazardous conditions such as secondhand smoke in exchange for a paycheck. “It’s not just about the cards, slots and profits; this bill is a beacon of hope for the hardworking people in our industry, signaling that our health and well-being matter,” added Hafley. Finally, he explained that casino employees should not have to make a choice between their paycheck and their well-being.

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Elsewhere, in another US state where smoking inside casinos is permitted, New Jersey, a smoking ban is getting closer to becoming a reality. A proposal that calls to eliminate smoking inside casinos is making its way forward after securing approval from the New Jersey Senate Health Committee. Yet, nothing is certain for the moment as the bill still has a long way to go.