The Duel

Las Vegas To Host First Smoke-Free Casino

Olufifun Adeleke
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Whispers had been going around for months about the probable implementation of a smoking ban by Park MGM and NoMad. It was finally confirmed on Monday, Sept. 14, on the homepage of the resort's website. The caption, designed to make a statement, reads, "Let's Clear the Air: Park MGM is smoke-free."

Set to reopen on Sept. 30 after months of closure warranted by the pandemic, Park MGM is the last of the MGM resorts to commence operations. More prominently, it is about to become the first Las Vegas Casino that is entirely smoke and vape free. The NoMad Hotel located in the same building will also prohibit tobacco within the premises.

Being the newest MGM property located on the Las Vegas Strip, the resort features a 2,993-room hotel, a pool, and various restaurants, including the famous EATALY diner. Tourism traffic is yet to pick up even for casinos that have opened in earlier months, and naturally, predictions say it may take a while for things to go back to how they were a year ago. However, the six-month break has given the resort time to prepare the casino floor to be smoke-free.  

Smoking Within Vegas Casinos

Smoke-free regulations were previously not a casino concept and would have been a sort of economic suicide, considering the nature of the business. These establishments are reputed to always accommodate both drinking and smoking. The casino floor was rampant with elegantly dressed servers vending cigarettes and cigars to patrons.

Attempts at promoting anti-smoking initiatives in Las Vegas have fallen through in the past, and the best you could find was casino companies with non-gaming no-smoking areas. However, although this is a first for Sin City, smoke-free casinos are not necessarily a new trend. Several gaming venues around the US, including Maryland and California, have already taken up a more nature-friendly approach and gone smoke-free. 

The current business model of casinos nowadays is also a formidable propagator of this trend. Gaming is no longer the only profitable activity on the casino grounds, as several revenue streams span entertainment, shopping, and dining. Even though casinos generally have efficient ventilation systems, there is no better remedy to second-hand smoke than its complete elimination.

Possible Ripple Effects

As the Park MGM opens with new smoking policies, many believe this will spur a follow-up from many other big casino establishments in the city. This move shows that the casino gaming industry is evolving. The need to preserve the atmosphere grows more relevant by the day.

The timing is almost perfect, as many resorts have temporarily banned smoking in line with the pandemic's health and safety regulations. It appears customers are the primary motivation, as president and chief operating officer of Park MGM Anton Nikodemus said, "We're making the facility completely non-smoking because of continued guest requests."

He included, "During this time, we've been able to prepare the property for a smoke-free resort experience... We believe there is a high level of pent-up demand to have a non-smoking casino, especially here in Las Vegas."



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