Friday, October 3, 2008

Casino Workers' Health Up in Smoke in Pa.?

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board recently announced that the agency and the seven operating casinos in the state that it overseas are prepared to follow the guidelines of the state's Clean Indoor Air Act, which took effect on September 11. The act not only prohibits smoking in most public places, including restaurants and the workplace, but also prohibits smoking on at least 75 percent of the casino floor. Penalties will be imposed for individuals who smoke in prohibited areas.

Here is where things get funky. The new law provides a process that would enable a casino to increase the smoking area to include up to 50 percent of the floor. How could that happen? If a report from the Department of Revenue shows the average gross terminal revenue (GTR) per slot machine in the designated smoking area exceeds the average GTR per slot machine in the designated nonsmoking area, the licensee may increase the designated smoking area in proportion to the percentage difference in revenue.

In other words, if a casino happens to attract a large volume of smokers, and those smokers are freer with their spending, floor workers and everyone else will ultimately suffer more from second-hand smoke as the smoking areas grow. That makes a lot of sense. It is nice to see that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is so progressive when it comes to the right to breathe clean air.

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