Some Las Vegas Casinos Could Be Smoke-Free Upon Reopening

It’s been the subject of much debate since the Las Vegas shutdown began, but now we have our first solid word some Las Vegas casinos could ban smoking when they reopen in the next few weeks.

Insiders share Planet Hollywood is using a working date of May 22, 2020, as a reopening date, but there’s a twist.

The reopening plans will reportedly include this rule: No smoking in the casino. (Update: Caesars Entertainment says this rumor is untrue. See bottom of the post for details.)

Cigar smoker

News of a potential smoking ban in Las Vegas casinos could break the Internet.

Planet Hollywood is in the Caesars Entertainment family of casinos, so it remains to be seen if other Caesars resorts in Las Vegas will follow suit.

Smoking in casinos is a time-honored tradition, despite smoking being banned in just about every other indoor venue in America.

We sparked early rumors of a casino smoking ban when we shared an MGM Resorts questionnaire raising the question of whether such a ban would encourage players to return more quickly to their favorite Vegas resorts.

smoking casino COVID-19

This survey question about a casino smoking ban got people hot under the collar.

While the results of that survey haven’t been made public, we did a survey on Twitter, possibly the best focus group ever created.

casino smoking ban Las Vegas

The answer MGM Resorts didn’t provide was, “If I can’t smoke, I’ll never be back.” We’ve heard from a number of Las Vegas visitors who said that would be their answer.

The call for ending smoking in casinos has intensified during the shutdown because COVID-19 is a respiratory disease.

According to the World Health Organization: “Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth. Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase risk of serious illness.”

The battle over smoking in casinos isn’t new, with passionate voices on both sides.

The standing (and suspect) wisdom has always been casinos will fail if smoking is banned.

Many consider smoking an integral part of the Las Vegas casino experience.

In an interview with Fox 5 Las Vegas, former MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said, “We have so many guests, particularly from Asia, that find that is an important element of their gaming experience.” He continued to say he believes over time Las Vegas casinos will “gravitate” toward being smoke-free.

For non-smokers, the implementation of social distancing in casinos is sure to provide relief from smoke even if it’s permitted. Beyond the separation required between players, Las Vegas casinos will temporarily be limited to 50% capacity, significantly decreasing the amount of smoke.

Non-smoking sections of the casino floor, and non-smoking tables, have been in place for some time in Las Vegas casinos, so it may not be a giant leap to eliminating smoking altogether.

The CDC says about 14% of Americans smoke.

Las Vegas casinos now face liability concerns they never could’ve imagined, and that could mean the time for banning smoking in casinos has arrived.

This is a Vegas trend to watch, no ifs, ands or…well, you know.

Update (5/14/20): In response to our story about his rumor, Caesars Entertainment made the shortest statement, ever, to say it’s untrue.

Caesars denial

We asked if any other casinos would be opening without smoking, but we have received no response to-date.

54 thoughts on “Some Las Vegas Casinos Could Be Smoke-Free Upon Reopening

  1. Dean

    I would hope that the state mandates any casino opening bans smoking at this time. Obviously, smokers are not wearing masks and exhaling smoke will create more droplets in the air and blow them further than regular breathing. Visiting a casino now would be reckless enough….visiting one that allows smoking would be giving yourself a death sentence.

    Reply
    1. Jeff

      I didn’t realize everyone that gets the virus dies? Isn’t it more like 2% and Almost all had underlying conditions?

      Reply
  2. Michelle

    When they started the band in bars and restaurants pretty much every smoker said they wouldn’t be back….Guess what? They all came back.

    Reply
    1. Ronald M.

      But they’ll promise you that they won’t return. They’ll promise!

      And they’ll point to the thousands of failed restaurants and bars as proof that smoking bans killed the food and beverage industry. And if you look around the communities in states where smoking is prohibited in restaurants, you’ll see there are very few restaurants around these days. Look at how boutique burger chains like Five Guys, Shake Shack and the rest went bankrupt.

      Can you even find a Chipotle within 50 miles of your home? Not likely since they banned smoking in restaurants.

      And you can’t sell coffee to seniors at McDonald’s if they’re not allowed to sit around inside the restaurant and smoke all morning. Does McDonald’s even bother with breakfast any more, given how many smokers no longer patronize those joints?

      Reply
    2. Bob

      Not true. I no longer go to bars and clubs…. ever.
      I am a respectful smoker and do my best to avoid nonsmokers… wish that could be said about those folks that wear far too much cologne or perfume

      Reply
      1. Cosmo K.

        The cologne people are far fewer, I find, but those that bathe in it, bathe in it. No doubt.

        Do you really avoid all bars and clubs because you can’t suck down Marlboros like Coca-Cola, or is it that you’re too old to hang around bars and clubs?

        Reply
  3. Sharon Hidveghy

    This is one of the most sensible precautions for reopening. Would it just be for the big casinos or all the other smaller local casinos in town? It would be an ideal time to do it as everything has been cleaned and smoke free for a couple of months. People are anxious to go out again so a ban on smoking won’t keep smokers out and may increase patronage by non smokers. It’s also dangerous to see people sitting and smoking while on O2 tanks. Maybe an answer is to have smoking only areas that are glassed off like they used to have at the airport.

    Reply
  4. Pattie

    I enjoy smoking while gambling. How much more can they take from us. Bellagio better keep their 19Th floor their smoking floor, at least I have MY OWN ROOM What about outside on strip, you cannot control that, especially those smoking pot.
    If you take temperature checks, they should be allowed to smoke. Masks worn throughout casino so we can’t even talk. Very sad

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Casinos are in a box if they don’t ban smoking. People will see the smoke passing through the air and think of COVID-19 droplets. A smoker blowing out smoke isn’t something I’d want to be at a table with. Normally I tolerate the smoking – won’t do it at this time. Not going anywhere where people are blowing air around.

      Reply
      1. Sharon Hidveghy

        Yes, and now the CDC is saying that the virus can be transmitted airborne and not only on surfaces. It kind of like a no brainer.

        Reply
  5. Jennifer kilty

    I enjoy smoking / drinking during my trips and while gaming . I’m also in healthcare so very aware of the what ifs…
    I’ll be very disappointed if we can not smoke . I’m always curtiouus to those next to me and ask if they mind .

    Reply
    1. 1975isDead

      So you’re part of the 1% of smokers who are considerate of others in the casino. Well done. If only the rest were as conscientious.

      Reply
      1. Donella

        I also ask if they mind but if I am smoking and someone sits down by me seeing that I am smoking…..it’s their problem.

        Reply
        1. Alitheace75

          Totally agree. if they area non smoker, then why would they want to sit next to someone smoking?

          I’m a smoker and generally don’t sit near a non smoker with a lit cigarette but, if they come and sit down near me seeing me smoking, then that’s on them and shouldn’t have cause to complain

          Reply
    2. David

      Love the comments from the people on here that won’t go back if they see smokers. Oh cool. The bright people.. IF they can SEE the smoke – NOPE. NO DICE. But… if they CAN’T see it, then it’s just fine. Talk about a goofy way. Believe me, smoking or not – if I have COVID and I’m in the resort breathing – you won’t see it, but you can still get it. People have to be smarter than this.. Unreal.

      Reply
  6. First Class Passenger

    It’s well established that smokers are second-class citizens. Their habit directly impacts customers around them at the casino, but they insist that they have to have one without the other. That’s wrong, of course, otherwise those frauds would never eat at a non-smoking restaurant.

    It’s time for smokers to accept the fact that just because they have multiple addictions, they don’t have a right to infringe upon others when enjoying one of their addictions.

    Reply
  7. Johnny Canuck

    Fallsview in Niagara Falls doesn’t ever appear to be hurting for not having smoking in the casino (and charging $8.50 a beer) – they do have a couple outdoor terraces for smokers and one even has machines. It must be lovely there in January playing your JOB with a Bud in one hand and your Marlboro in the other….

    Reply
      1. Sharon Hidveghy

        They will. All they are asked to do is light up in a designated place or outside. They will just have a chip on their shoulder for awhile. In other states where smoking is banned, they are not seeing a drop in business. There are plenty of ways in Las Vegas that smoking areas can be outside, like patio, rooftop, or likewise gambling. Portable heaters or AC can climate control these places. And remember, many locals play who don’t smoke. And many who smoke are not gambling, they are sitting on their phones, etc, not putting a dime in a machine. If this is about catering to the rich Asian punters who must smoke, let them have a smoking area That is high stakes or in a private area. There are ways to work with this.

        Reply
  8. Ed Rogers

    I myself would be very disappointed in no smoking especially since I am a cigar smoker , Boyd properties in Michigan City allow smoking in casino but not in restaurants and foyer areas that makes sense in the casinos makes no sense

    Reply
    1. Musical Youth

      No smoking in enclosed buildings and public gathering spaces makes perfect sense.

      Pass the dutchie.

      Reply
    2. Sharon Hidveghy

      Cigars are so momentarily enjoyable to you, yet they are so noxious to others. You’d do Well in a designated area for them, where other smokers don’t mind. I get it about cigars. But long after you are gone others are sick.

      Reply
  9. Beard

    I’m not a smoker, but a smoking ban in casinos is something I’m against. It’s gambling folks, it’s not like you’re eating. Don’t understand why you can’t have “the smoking half and the non smoking half” in a casino. Racino in Ohio we go to has an outdoor smoking area casino. Heaters in the winter. Always seems to be a crowd out there.

    Reply
    1. Sharon Hidveghy

      Yes. There will always be gamblers. Banning the smoking just requires them all to be considerate because they won’t all be considerate naturally.

      Reply
  10. Deborah

    Well I understand the theory .Im a smoker and I probably won’t go to gamble if I can’t smoke! And nonsmoker’s really need to stop their crying about smokers! It is my right to smoke just as it’s your right not to smoke and not breathe the second hand smoke! Casinos are always circulating air so it’s not like it’s hanging around people! And I always ask when I sit down if there are people around if they mind if I smoke? Most don’t have a problem…But to not allow something that is legal to do and I paid to do it and I’m taking my risks and know it is not healthy but it’s my life ..and it seems like you all are not paying attention to the big picture! More control over your civil liberties and rights! So casinos and bars that don’t allow smoking will not get my money …period!

    Reply
    1. Todd

      Since only 14% of americans smoke, the other 86% of us should have to breathe your second hand smoke and risk getting sick or die? Not to mention how it makes your clothes smell, etc. It’s disgusting no longer socially acceptable. Deal with it smokers, go away, we’ll be just fine without you.

      Reply
      1. Debbie

        Simple fix. One side of the casino for non smoking section and the other side with smoking section. That is it.

        Reply
      1. Hello

        If you go around it then that’s on you. It’s got nothing to do with civil liberty. Not to mention that the casino has the right to allow smoking in their building if they want.

        Reply
  11. Todd

    I will NEVER patronize another business that allows smoking/vaping of any kind inside the establishment. This includes casinos, restaurants, etc. It is disgusting and this is the final straw. I will vote with my dollars and I bet I’m not the only one.

    Reply
  12. Mike Alexakis

    Planet Hollywood will get a boost in business if they are the only one banning smoking, MGM should follow this lead and make Bellagio or New York New York non smoking as well… Morongo and Pechanga here in Southern California will be paying attention to this, courage is a very underrated trait, one rarely sees it in corporate America. My entire family will be thrilled if during our Las Vegas vacations we can pack way less clothes. I would not set foot in the El Cortez without an oxygen tank like Lloyd Bridges in Sea Hunt, Downtown Las Vegas may become more palatable, usually we go to Hugo’s Cellar then run away fast…

    Reply
  13. Bernadette

    Exhaling smoke is a sure fire way to introduce respiratory droplets into the air. Ridiculous to allow smoking now or ever again. Casinos in Canada do not allow smoking. You can reserve your slot machine or spot at a table for 15 minutes while you go to a designated smoking area. Changing from smoking to non-smoking did not affect the numbers of patrons in the slightest.

    Reply
  14. Jack Tarasar

    BOTH the MGM survey and the Vital Vegas survey are corrupt and useless. They both do NOT want the real answers. Or, they would have added the fourth option “I WILL NEVER RETURN IF SMOKING IS BANNED””.
    I live in Florida where the CLEAN AIR ACT was passed in 2008 I think. That law, unlike other States that have tight laws with no exceptions. The Florida law is full of holes. Exemptions for Bingo Halls, Bars where food totals are 10% or less, PRIVATE CLUBS like the Moose Lodge, etc, Restaurants with separate non smoking sections, etc. It is not strictly enforced.
    I belong to the Moose Lodge and Eagke Club. When the local Moose Lodge here in Venice, Florida decided to go smoke free, the night that the VOTE was held, there was lots of angry members on both side of the issue.. Smoking ban PASSED and the Smokers said that they would quit their memberships and never come back. The Lodge made a smokers section on the back patio, non air conditioned. One year later that Moose Lodge Local DOUBLED their membership roster. Because the Smokers either didn’t smoke in the club or smoked on the back patio. What surprised everyone was that MANY NEW members signed up because of the Smoking Ban, because they didn’t want to breath the second hand smoke and also get the STINK of cigarette smoke in their clothes. THAT would be the same result WHEN (not if) Las Vegas Casinos institutes a smoking ban.

    Reply
  15. Delbert Y.

    An inevitable fallout of “some” casinos instituting a smoking ban while others don’t will be the migration of smokers to the casinos without a smoking ban. This resettling of smokers in the remaining pro-smoke establishments will result in a higher ratio of smokers to non-smokers and even thicker smoke in those casinos. In turn, non-smokers with any modicum of self-respect will draw the line and move on to casinos with clean air. Such a seachange of smoke driven patronage is a win-win for both smokers and non-smokers. Non-smokers will have decent air to breathe in non-smoking casinos, and pro-smoke casinos will have the filthiest air imaginable since EVERYONE will be smoking. That’s a smoker’s best dream: smoke so thick you can’t see, and no one is complaining about it. Light up, smokers! No one will care anymore! YEA FOR EVERYONE!!!

    Reply
  16. Laura

    Great news if this happens. Vegas is my most favourite holiday destination from the UK and the smoking was the only thing annoyed me. It was be literally perfect without it!
    We have a trio planned for September, fingers crossed we make it and aren’t subjected to people’s second hand smoke.

    Reply
    1. Boulder Steve

      Because they have gaming. Law allows smoking where there are slots although if children are allowed then no smoking

      Reply
  17. Nick

    Ending smoking in casinos seems to be a very good idea and should have been done long time ago for health reasons. And apart from Corona, why not just doing the math? If 14 % of Americans smoke, why burden the other 86 % with it?

    Reply
  18. Frank Caltagirone

    The NON smoking areas of a casino is a lot of hype, it does nothing to help keep the smoke away from the areas of where the NON smokers are. At the Borgata in Atlantic City, you have one non smoking area right across from the smoking area. The air flow thru the casino pushes the smoke into the non smokers area. I feel it should not be allow just like it is in other public areas. I am in favor of NON smoking casinos!

    Reply
  19. Sherie

    I wouldn’t go at all. I went to casinos in Canada and there was no smoking. I would never go back. I like my casinos with all the sin! The more they take away, the less fun it is. I go to casinos for the whole experience and that includes smoking, drinking, etc.

    Reply
  20. David White

    I am a casino employee. I smoked for 40 years, and as a result contracted lung cancer. I am currently in remission. In my opinion: smoking should be banned in all public buildings, including casinos!

    Reply
  21. Martin S

    I go to Vegas about 6 times per year. My wife smokes and I love my cigars. We live in the liberal armpit of the USA, California. Our fun getaways to Vegas are something we look forward to. I would not enjoy Vegas without being able to enjoy my cigars while playing. There is no question that I would seek other entertainment outlets if the casinos banned smoking. People can always find something to be offended by if you look hard enough. My personal problem is with people that have gotten so fat they take up the space of two people. That makes my experience less enjoyable.

    Reply
    1. que b

      My damn head is so big it won’t fit inside the borders of a photo. For my entire head to be in a photo, it takes putting two pictures together and turning it into a collage by combining ripped up pieces of both photographs. I’ve thought about taking up smoking cigars, but it’d be sort of impossible to be that cool with a fat head, wouldn’t you agree?

      Reply
  22. AlexM

    Vegas has always been afraid that the whales, the big money spenders, do smoke and they worry that if smoking is banned, those whales may go elsewhere. They don’t really care about your health. If they did, they would have banned smoking when the statewide smoking ban was enacted in all places other than casinos. since COVID-19 is respiratory based and cigarette smoke is expelled from the lungs, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the coronavirus virus would be carried on the smoke particles for us to breathe in?

    Reply
  23. Peter Scimeca

    I will no way return to a casino where I can’t smoke. To me Las Vegas is a let loose experience. If I’m going to blow a thousand dollars (minimum) on slots. I want to drink beer and smoke doing it. Also I love Buffett’s. We all take our chances when we get out of bed every morning . Take your new rules and leave me out. Be a man not a sheep.

    Reply
  24. Pete S

    Smoking has nothing to do with covid-19. Covid-19 is just an excuse to piggy-back off of to make up new rules and regulations. If Las Vegas is stupid enough to enforce new rules it will cost them. I won’t go. People in sports book, at Bars, at Tabes and slots love to smoke. Who wants to get off their game to go outside to light up. Las Vegas is a get away from it all. Why go if your not getting away. You people need to learn how to live and let live.

    Reply

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