You are now entering a killing zone

May 18 - smoking I was in Atlantic City Friday night to see some boxing. I took my dad, my son and my brother, John. My dad was an amateur boxer in the 1940s. Rep, Jr., boxed in Vermont's Golden Gloves tournament. And John and me? Well, we follow the sport.

Fully expecting to be dismayed by the sleazy, tawdry surroundings that are synonymous with casinos and gambling, I was nonetheless taken aback by what I walked into at Harrah's. Smoke. Lots and lots of smoke. Cigarette smokers were everywhere, forming a veritable cancer on the casino landscape, if you will.

John told me Atlantic City's casinos had lobbied the city government to rescind its smoke-free environment laws a few years back. The casinos were losing too much money, he said. So, the local pols caved, smoking was re-established and the gamblers returned.

But, what about unsuspecting visitors like me? Second-hand smoke has been proven to cause cancer. Why should non-smokers have to wade through the 'resort's' toxic haze and inhale the carcinogenic fumes en route to the boxing matches?

Atlantic City casinos should be forced to place a warning on each and every one of their billboards, advertisements and digital promotions. I suggest a surgeon general's type warning that advises tourists they'll not only be assaulted by bright lights, eardrum-smashing music and the sight of sad, broken-down people feeding quarters into slot machines, but also enough second-hand cigarette smoke to wipe out an entire army. 'You are now entering a killing zone' would also work nicely.

And how about a billboard on the way out of Atlantic City that reads, 'Thank you for losing your money, seeing our B-level stars and inhaling our second-hand smoke. We are not responsible for your future heart and lung disease. Drive safely.’

6 thoughts on “You are now entering a killing zone

  1. I like Atlantic City in spite of its sleaziness. I love the Borgata, taffy on the boardwalk and the honky-tonk atmosphere. My wife’s never been there. I’d really like to go this summer, especially now that NJ Transit has installed train service from NYC. The problem is that she’s allergic to smoke and would probably last 20 minutes there. And now, as Gaetano reports, they’ve lost the fight to keep out serious competition. Nice going, A.C. You’re setting yourself back to the early Seventies.

  2. In the gaming business…the SportsBook is the killer ap. It is why Vegas has always beat Atlantic City. It brings the real money… the money AC has always been after. Given the close proximity to AC…Delaware will draw the “Whales” to their casinos, leaving the small gamers to Atlantic City. You can bet that the best and brightest gaming professionals will be moving to Delaware for the NCAA Football and NFL season. That’s where the real money will be.

  3. Please explain further, Gaetano. I must admit to not being conversant on the sleazy underpinnings of casino life. How and why will Delware’s sportsbook undermine Atlantic City?

  4. Smoking won’t save Atlantic City…the already slumping NJ casinos were dealt the death blow with Delaware’s coming SportsBook…Sports gambling trumps smoke (all puns intended)

  5. I agree, Jackie, that concerts are bad news when it comes to smoking. I went to a concert in St. Louis last year and the event was sponsored by a cigarette company. Girls in short skirts were walking around the bar area handing out sample packs of the latest cigs, and the cloud of smoke was overwhelming. I’m pretty sure I had to throw out my clothing after that.
    Like you said, Steve, there should be some sort of a warning so non-smokers have a heads up. At that concert, I would have bailed but had a hard time walking away from the $60 tickets I bought to see a great band. Had I known about the smoke beforehand, I may have passed on buying the tickets for that venue all together.

  6. I had a similar experience last weekend at Mohegan Sun in CT. My husband and I went to see The Killers concert and were totally shocked at how bad the smoke was in the casino. Under the compact between the Indian tribes and the State of Connecticut, they have been allowed to continue to permit smoking on reservation land. However, the Governor and State Attorney General are waging a war to ban smoking in the casinos to protect the health of its workers.
    Of course, the Tribal Council is claiming it would cost them millions of dollars a year in lost visitors. I wonder how that compares to the health care costs of the poor workers who will probably get heart disease, emphysema, etc. from all that second hand smoke.
    Should be an interesting battle.