ATLANTIC CITY — On the eve of a City Council vote to ban smoking in casinos, a compromise measure is making the rounds that would still allow gamblers to light up — albeit on a limited basis.
The new ordinance would allow smoking on 25 percent of a casino's gaming floor, with the smoking sections enclosed and separately ventilated from the rest of the building.
“I have an understanding that we owe the casino industry some kind of a compromise instead of banning (smoking) completely,” said Councilman Dennis Mason, who sponsored the measure after about four weeks of negotiations with the Casino Association of New Jersey, a trade group representing the resort's 11 casinos. “I think this is fair.”
The ordinance counters the original measure, which was designed to close a loophole in 2006 state antismoking legislation that specifically exempted casino gaming floors. Both ordinances are scheduled for a vote during Wednesday's City Council meeting.
But Councilman Bruce Ward, who proposed the full ban, maintained that he and fellow ban proponent Councilman Gene Robinson will not waiver from their stance to ban casino smoking outright.