A return to normal at Mohegan Sun Pocono has meant the return of indoor smoking. But not so at Mount Airy Casino Resort.
Smoking is permitted again inside the Plains Twp. casino on nearly half of its gaming floor, Mohegan Sun Pocono President and General Manager Anthony Carlucci said.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board informed Pennsylvania casinos the temporary smoking ban in casinos would be lifted in conjunction with the end of the COVID-19 mask mandate on Monday, Carlucci said.
An anti-smoking group is pushing for legislation to make the smoking ban permanent, however.
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights President and CEO Cynthia Hallett said the return of smoking inside casinos puts employees’ and guests’ health at risk despite the “known dangers of even brief exposure to secondhand smoke.”
“Indoor smoking is a pre-COVID relic that should not return,” Hallett said.
Carlucci said more than 50% of the gaming areas at Mohegan Sun Pocono are non-smoking. Bars and lounges that previously permitted smoking and are currently closed are reevaluating their smoking status prior to reopening, he said.
Mount Airy Casino Resort in Monroe County has prohibited smoking indoors since July 3 and is continuing the indoor smoking ban, a spokesperson said.
The casino is offering an outdoor smoking area adjacent to the self-park entrance.
According to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, more casinos nationwide are going smoke-free.
At least 160 tribal gaming venues have implemented 100% smoke-free policies during COVID-19. Half of all states require commercial casinos to be smoke-free indoors and nearly 1,100 gaming properties do not permit smoking indoors, the anti-group smoking group reported.
Hallett said the group is calling on Pennsylvania’s elected officials, including Gov. Tom Wolf, to support legislation to make casinos permanently smoke-free indoors.
“Our request is simple: just move smoking outside, like every other business in society,” she said.
The Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act determines how smoking is handled at casinos, said Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board spokesman Doug Harbach.
Lyndsay Kensinger, spokeswoman for Wolf, said the administration would “welcome a discussion about updating the Clean Indoor Air Act.”