A New Jersey bill that aims to permanently prohibit smoking in Atlantic City casinos has received more bipartisan support.
The long-awaited measure would remove casinos’ exemption from the state’s Smoke-Free Air Act, and it has inched one step closer to becoming a reality after Republican State Senator Michael Testa voiced his support for the bill.
“Casino workers should have the same right to work in a safe and healthy environment as any other worker in our state,” said Testa.
“We can both protect the health of casino workers and their guests while safeguarding our state’s thriving gaming industry.”
Testa, alongside fellow Republican Vince Polistina, and several of their Democratic counterparts, including Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, reintroduced the bill during the first full day of New Jersey’s current legislative session.
For his backing, Nicole Vitola, Co-leader of Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects (CEASE), welcomed Testa’s support, saying: “We thank Senator Testa for co-sponsoring this bipartisan legislation after meeting with us and hearing our concerns about our health.
“We have support from Republicans and Democrats, as well as legislators across New Jersey, because they recognise that it’s wrong to treat us differently than every other worker in our state.
“Senator Testa understands the urgency of our fight and we are grateful that he is joining us to get this bill across the finish line.”
However, the Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ) reiterated its opposition to the bill.
“Banning smoking completely and permanently would have long-term financial implications for the industry and the region, placing Atlantic City casinos at a competitive disadvantage with Pennsylvania casinos where smoking is permitted,” commented CANJ President Joe Lupo, as reported by AP News.