Smoking is Back at The Venetian and Palazzo’s Las Vegas Gaming Tables
Las Vegas casino resorts The Venetian and Palazzo are reinstating indoor smoking at casino gaming tables. That’s after previously eliminating the practice during COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
An internal memo revealed this week that from today, November 6, gamblers can once again smoke cigarettes, cigars, and vapes at all of the casinos’ several hundred gaming tables. However, marijuana, which is legal in Nevada, remains banned on casino floors.
“As a company, we are always reviewing and improving our internal policies to remain competitive and strategic in our business decisions,” said a memo from The Venetian management leaked on social media.
“We have received continuous feedback regarding our smoking policy. This has prompted us to review and ultimately update the policy.”
New Measures in Place, But Decision Controversial
The move puts the two VICI Properties-owned resorts back on similar smoking policies with most of the famous Nevada casino venues on the Las Vegas Strip.
Out of the major casino resorts, only MGM’s Park MGM has a fully nonsmoking gaming floor. In downtown Las Vegas, June saw Plaza Hotel open a 2,500-foot nonsmoking alternative gaming lounge.
As well as returning casino floor smoking, however, the Venetian and Palazzo have also introduced a no-smoking option. Casino guests who sit down at an empty gaming table can ask the host to make it a no-smoking table for the rest of their session.
In these cases, a no-smoking sign will be put on the table, until there are no players at the table once again.
Anti-smoking campaigners say this is not enough however.
“The notion of a partial smoking policy in casinos is a failed attempt to address the serious health concerns of casino workers,” said Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.
Smoking in Casinos Across the U.S.
2023’s efforts to ban smoking in casinos in various states have been relatively unsuccessful. Back in March, Louisiana casino venues in Shreveport reinstated smoking after pandemic rules did away with the practice in 2020.
This year, campaigners’ efforts to ban smoking at New Jersey casino venues in the famous Atlantic City also faced a setback. The new head of the largest Union in the city, Unite Here 54 Local’s Donna DeCaprio, clarified her position on smoking.
“A total smoking ban would eliminate thousands of lucrative jobs and probably lead to the closure of one casino,” she said in July, speaking to Associated Press.
Lawmakers in Rhode Island also faced criticism, after making disparaging comments about anti-smoking campaigners in the state. The two Rhode Island casinos are currently exempt from a statewide ban on indoor workplace smoking.
“Those people took those jobs knowing that there was smoking,” said Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio in June, speaking on the Rhode Island Report Podcast.
“Now, all of a sudden, there’s a small group who feels that it’s not good for their health.”
Related: The best online casinos for Nevada players, rated and reviewed
Smoke Free Las Vegas Unlikely
However, in Nevada, where there are generally few or no restrictions on indoor smoking, the vice has an intimate connection with Las Vegas’ reputation as the city of sin.
By now, almost all Americans are well aware of the health risks of smoking, and even secondhand smoke. What isn’t so obvious, though, is the apparent ineffectiveness of partitioned smoking and air filtration systems. The Center for Disease Control found there were still elevated levels of carcinogenic particulates across casinos that implemented partial nonsmoking policies.
Regardless of the science, most of the U.S. casino sector holds firm on the stance that banning it would be bad for business.
For customers who wish that pot smoking was accepted indoors as tobacco smoke in Las Vegas, 2023 also saw the opening of Sin City’s first weed-friendly hotel. Customers at The Lexi are free to blaze up inside 22 of the rooms at the boutique hotel, located just off the Las Vegas Strip.
Outside of opinions on casino smoking, however, Las Vegas casino operators currently have much more immediate concerns. Large scale strike action by casino workers is now a real possibility, ahead of the upcoming F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix race weekend on November 16.
After months of preparations for the big-ticket international event, casinos and Nevada retail sportsbooks could face serious disruptions from a potential strike. Up to 60,000 hospitality workers at MGM Resorts, Caesars, and Wynn Resorts could walk out as soon as this week. Picket line protests are also ongoing as negotiations stall.