Saloons and casinos have lots in common – they’re both synonymous with drinkin’, gamblin’ and carryin’ on. And smoking. Lots of smoking. Cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, pipes, those noxious clove things… you name it. Trouble is, this habit isn’t always appreciated by non-smoking guests, nor by the people that spend 8+ hours every day working in these hotboxes. Gaming establishment owners have to straddle a fence between driving away customers who refuse to go anywhere they can’t smoke and minimizing legal liabilities over the health of their employees.
Nevada state law grants casinos an exemption from the prohibition against smoking in public places, but Wynn Las Vegas was recently denied a motion to dismiss an employee’s lawsuit that the smoke-filled casino was an unsafe work environment. The court also gave the lawsuit’s filers the option of seeking class action status to include all past, present and future Wynn employees. Yikes…
Up in South Dakota, casino and bar owners have raised enough signatures to ensure that voters will have the final word on a 2009 law banning smoking in workplaces and public areas. The owners feel that if they can find staff willing to serve the smoking customers, they should be allowed to set up dedicated smoking areas in their establishments.
Meanwhile, those inventive Aussies have come up with what they think is the perfect compromise. Since they already make smokers go outside to puff, why not move some of their ‘pokies’ outside as well? The City of Sydney RSL Club has filed a request to install 11 video poker machines on an ‘outdoor gaming balcony’. This approach, while beautiful in its simplicity, might not fly in colder climes (like S. Dakota) but could point the way out (literally) of Vegas’ legal jam.
Of course, we’d be remiss if we failed to point out that gambling online from the comfort of your own home gives you the latitude (assuming you don’t have kids around) to smoke any damn thing you want. Just sayin’.