How are some of Atlantic City’s casino company executives responding to the one-two punch of the tight credit markets they use for capital improvements and the declining revenues in the city’s casinos? Why, by calling for a repeal in the smoking ban of course.
The effect of the credit crisis on Atlantic City’s biggest industry has been apparent for months, as three new casinos have been delayed because of financing problems.
Current casino operators are doing what they can to keep revenue coming in. One senior gaming executive urged the resort’s City Council to consider delaying or repealing the casino smoking ban that begins Oct. 15. Casinos fear the ban will force smokers to flee Atlantic City for gaming markets that have no smoking restrictions.
“We can’t control the financial crisis. That’s something that has to resolve itself. The bigger challenge is the smoking ordinance,” said Larry Mullin, president and chief operating officer of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. “The one thing we have control over is the smoking ban.”
Casino executives are up in arms about the smoking ordinance, which hasn’t yet begun in full force, as though they’re powerless to attract customers and gamers without having a more robust smoking option. Really? These guys are masters of a multimillion dollar advertising game that spreads through and saturates a variety of media. Their marketing campaigns are extremely catchy and creative, and they’ve been innovating in advertising successfully as market conditions changed for decades now.
And yet, somehow, the smoking ban is the end of casino life as we know it? Please. Has anybody even thought of the fact that the smoking ban might invite more customers? You know– people who aren’t interested in being poisoned slowly by secondhand smoke? Have they thought that their workforce, not having to deal with daily smoke, would be healthier and therefore likely to be more productive and help increase profits?
Despite this, they’re likely to be successful.