It's in the casino air… or not
Guests and employees continue to push for better indoor air quality at gaming resorts, and operators are responding with unique smoke-free solutions
According to the latest information provided by The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF), more than 85 percent of U.S. adults are now nonsmokers, a number that is likely to grow in years to come.
So it should not come as any surprise that the majority of resort patrons are nonsmokers, who don’t necessarily want to breathe secondhand smoke within a casino environment. Perhaps this is why over the past decade the focus of indoor clean air action has shifted from restrictions on smoking to complete bans, with continued research and studies proving the unhealthy effects of firsthand and secondhand smoke.
Today 20 states, along with a growing number of cities, require all state regulated gambling venues to be smoke-free indoors, and now there are more than 800 smoke-free gambling venues in the U.S. and sovereign tribal nations. Casino operators in Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and New York have recently invested billions of dollars into new smoke-free casinos, according to ANRF. And these smoke-free casinos compete successfully against both smoking and non-smoking gaming facilities in their respective regional markets.
However when faced with the option of being either a smoke-free or smoking-allowed facility, some casino resort operators have instead opted for middle ground—creating gaming experiences that cater to the needs of smokers and nonsmokers alike. Here are two recent examples:
Arundel Mills, Md.-based Live! Casino & Hotel, one of the largest commercial casinos in the country, recently opened the new Orchid Gaming & Smoking Patio to the public, becoming the state of Maryland’s first and only full-service outdoor gaming area that allows casino patrons to smoke while playing slots and table games.
Orchid casino floor features 12 live-action table games, including blackjack, baccarat and roulette; plus 28 electronic table positions, including dealer-assist blackjack, baccarat, craps and roulette, and bar top terminals. In addition, more than 150 of the latest slot machines are available, including video poker.
Orchid Gaming & Smoking Patio is also the first in the market to offer ticket in/ticket out (TITO) tables, enabling players to move between slots and table games without carrying chips to the main cage. Casino customers can find non-stop gaming action 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year…weather permitting, according to a press release.
“Live! is committed to continuous improvement and developing new and different experiences for our guests,” said Robert J. Norton, president of Cordish Global Gaming. “With Orchid, we have created a completely unique environment with a blend of gaming, music, design and an upscale bar.”
The patio features a cigar program, including offerings from Arturo, Monte Christo, Atabey and Byron, as well as special Live! editions from Titan. The bar features lounge seating and Live! Casino’s vast collection of spirits.
Gulfport, Miss.-based Island View Casino Resort recently opened its doors to a $75 million resort expansion that included Beach Casino, a 43,000-square-foot, smoke-free gaming facility.
With this expansion, Island View reportedly boasts the largest casino floor in the state of Mississippi, totaling 126,000 square feet of gaming space, with dual casino options that offer guests a choice of smoking or non-smoking environments that offer promotions, quality games and entertainment.
Owners Rick Carter and Terry Green have reportedly invested over $400 million into the resort, which includes more than 1,000,000 square feet of beachfront gaming, hotel and entertainment space.
“As a private, locally-owned business, we recognized the opportunity to further invest in the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s future,” Carter said. “This casino expansion strongly supports our area’s tourism industry and generates an economic impact from the 300 new jobs that we have created.”
“Our focus has always been on delivering a great resort experience with memorable service for our guests,” Green added. “Island View’s Beach Casino gives guests a smoke-free option without giving up the amenities they have come to enjoy.”
“Guests will enjoy the same games and promotions on the beach side as they have come to expect on the north side of the property,” said Lindsey Inman, CEO for Island View Casino Resort. “This is the first and only casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast to actually be built as smoke-free. We are very excited and proud to bring the Beach Casino to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”
The Beach Casino’s design features floor to ceiling windows with views of the Mississippi Sound. The expansion also includes the Prime Cut restaurant, the Dockside Deli, the Beach Coffee Shop and Gulf Breeze Daiquiris.
While some gaming operations have carved out interior spaces to suit either the smoking or non-smoking needs of patrons, others have instead turned to purification technology and systems to lessen smoke and other indoor air qualityissues throughout the entire facility. Here are updates from some of the leading indoor air solutions providers:
Catalytic PURE AIR started in 2001 by testing its purifiers the toughest indoor air environments it could think of—the casino and hotel industry.
Catalytic PURE AIR offered the industry point-of-use air purifiers with the technology and capacity to tackle the toughest indoor air quality problems. General managers, housekeepers, hotel directors and slot gaming managers went about testing the Catalytic PURE AIR purifier in their hotel rooms, public spaces and gaming floors. Since then, Catalytic PURE AIR purifiers have been improving indoor air quality in environments ranging from truck stops to luxury casinos resorts with a cost effective solution.
Casino Air, founded in 1972, is another company offering solutions for better air quality. The company has constantly searched for better ways to deliver optimum results for its clients. By the late 1970s, the company reportedly had established itself as the premier indoor air quality expert in the hospitality and recreation industries in the Western U.S., with a large client base of smaller gaming operators such as card rooms and bingo facilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.
Casino Air identified the basic technologies it was going to use and began doing the research and working with potential manufacturers to adapt these solutions for use in large gaming environments.
Forty years, 75,000 pages of research and hundreds of clients later, Casino Air is a leading innovator of tobacco smoke and odor abatement technology, according to the company’s website. In conjunction with integrating its technology, the company has gained worldwide recognition for its pioneering efforts in this field and has published two scientific papers on tobacco smoke and odor remediation in gaming environments.
UltraViolet Devices (UVDI) recently introduced V-PAC, its next generation of air purification equipment. Using a unique combination of advanced technologies (including catalytic oxidation technology used in a car’s catalytic converter), this system can solve the toughest smoke and odor challenges. According to company literature, the V-PAC System highlights include:
- Easy installation in both existing and new equipment;
- Scalable design to fit any plenum size;
- Photocatalytic Panels (PCO) and High VOC Adsorbent Panels (HVAP) designed for installation in standard filter tracks; and
- Utilizes V-MAX high output lamp systems.
AromaTech, a pioneer in the field of scent marketing, crafts scent-based ambient environments for leading hotels, casinos, retailers, gyms, restaurants and other first-class establishment. The company uses high-quality, eco-friendly materials in its scent machines and commercial scents, according to its website.
AromaTech scent machines use the cutting-edge technology of “cold-air diffusion” which ensures the integrity of the fragrance. Its aroma diffusers process filtered cold air to diffuse the scent in ultra-dry mist. The result in a subtle, symphonic fragrance without being overpowering.