The current push to ban on line casino smoking has garnered more momentum in New Jersey than Pennsylvania, however a lawmaker who has long pressed the issue used a Rivers On line casino Pittsburgh license renewal listening to to resurrect it.
State Rep. Dan Frankel of Pittsburgh instructed members of the Pennsylvania Gaming Management Board Wednesday that he and a fellow Democrat, Senate Minority Chief Jay Costa, would quickly be introducing laws to undo the exemption for casinos contained in Pennsylvania’s 2008 Clear Indoor Air Act. Frankel has led related efforts that failed in prior legislative periods, and Republicans who proceed to manage each legislative chambers have given no indication that may change.
The 2008 legislation bans smoking in eating places and different public areas, but it surely permits casinos to permit smoking on as much as 50% of on line casino gaming ground, as a result of trade’s enterprise considerations. The gaming board lacks authority to alter the exemption on a everlasting foundation, though it did impose a short lived full ban as a part of COVID-19 restrictions throughout the pandemic.
On the on line casino licensing listening to on the Allegheny County Courthouse, Frankel famous how well being consciousness has elevated because the 2008 legislation was enacted, with the variety of people who smoke within the inhabitants dropping to 14%. He urged the regulators to do what they will to coax casinos on the well being situation that impacts their 1000’s of staff.
Frankel identified Parx Casino, the state’s largest, has opted voluntarily to require that people who smoke go outdoors to mild up regardless of the statewide ban being lifted. Mount Ethereal On line casino Resort has additionally initiated its personal ban, and state income figures haven’t instructed any hurt to these two casinos from their considerations putting well being on the forefront. Non-smokers, naturally, favor to be in venues the place they don’t need to take care of cigarettes close by.
“Parx noticed the writing on the wall,” mentioned Frankel. “Staff ought to merely by no means be compelled to decide on between their well being and their livelihood.”
The legislator was joined later at a press conference the place he acquired backing from Costa, Allegheny County Government Wealthy Fitzgerald, a consultant of the American Lung Affiliation, and a former Rivers On line casino cocktail server who mentioned smoking there exacerbated her bronchial asthma and contributed to bronchitis.
Whereas Frankel famous Rivers and different casinos tout their fashionable air filtration techniques and non-smoking areas, he mentioned, “One worker defined the non-smoking part of the on line casino is sort of a non-peeing part of a swimming pool. Air, like water, doesn’t keep in place.”
Casinos anticipate new resort and sportsbook
No gaming board members provided response to Frankel’s feedback, and Rivers On line casino officers weren’t requested on the listening to for any remark of their very own.
Such hearings required each 5 years for license renewals are typically professional forma, with casinos outlining their monetary and different contributions to the group and native officers providing endorsements of them for his or her financial impression.
Such was the case for each the Rivers Pittsburgh listening to Wednesday and an identical one the day earlier than in Washington County for Hollywood On line casino at The Meadows. The 2 are the biggest casinos in western Pennsylvania, with Rivers producing $257 million in slots and desk video games income within the final fiscal 12 months and the Meadows making $157 million.
In each circumstances, officers touted new additions which are nearing completion.
Rivers executives mentioned their $60 million, 219-room resort linked to the property on Pittsburgh’s North Shore would open in July or August. It’ll assist construct the on line casino into extra of a regional vacation spot heart than it already is, Common Supervisor Bud Inexperienced mentioned. In contrast to the casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic Metropolis, most in Pennsylvania shouldn’t have motels linked to them.
On the Meadows, which was rebranded by proprietor Penn Nationwide Gaming with the Hollywood title final 12 months, the most recent mission is a $6.8 million funding in remaking its sportsbook space. The brand new part combining the sportsbook with a bar and restaurant and a view of the harness racing monitor outdoors will probably be a “Barstool campus,” as described by Common Supervisor Tony Frabbiele. He mentioned it could be completed by the top of Could.
Through the two licensing hearings, board members targeted their questions on the extent to which the casinos try to broaden minority participation of their workforce and administration, and what they’re doing to additional reply to considerations about patrons who gamble whereas leaving children unattended in cars.
No points arose that might counsel any problem in renewal of the licenses, though these should not official till the board votes at a subsequent public assembly in Harrisburg.