After a month of fresh air inside Atlantic City’s 11 casinos, smoking is once again allowed.
A temporary smoking ban expired at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, and gamblers will be able to light up again for at least the next year.
Gladys Bryan of Philadelphia can’t wait. Standing on the Boardwalk outside the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort (one of two casinos that forced its gamblers to go outside to smoke during the ban), she complained about having to leave a hot slot machine that had been paying off for her in order to grab a smoke just outside the casino door.
„I have my mother in there now keeping it warm for me,“ said the 62-year-old woman. „I would love to not have to do that.“
In April of this year, the City Council enacted a total smoking ban on the gambling floor of all 11 casinos. It was cheered by many casino workers worried about their health, as well as by anti-smoking groups.
But casino operators and many gamblers who smoke decried the ban, saying it would drive customers away in droves.
In the interim, the financial meltdown rocked the economy and led to even steeper declines at the casinos, which have laid off hundreds of workers since the year began. The council changed its mind and agreed to repeal the smoking ban for at least a year.