California Casino Drops Indoors Smoking Ban despite Opposition

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In response to a considerable number of requests, the Agua Caliente Casino in Palm Springs has recently made the decision to allow smokers to indulge in their habit while engaging in gambling activities, marking the end of a three-year break. A spokesperson for the casino confirmed this development to The Desert Sun, revealing that one out of the three casinos run by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians will now be open to tobacco usage.

The Smoking Lamp Is Lit Again

Agua Caliente now allows smoking within the Palm Springs properties, whereas the Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage casinos are smoke-free. On Monday, a casino representative further clarified that smoking and vaping are permissible within the casino premises, albeit restricted to the casino floor exclusively. These activities are strictly forbidden at table games, the sports bar and the lounge.

Related: Connecticut's Tribal Casinos Stand against Indoor Smoking

California state law prohibits smoking in casinos and other enclosed areas; however, indigenous tribes within the state have retained the liberty to permit smoking within their casinos due to their status as sovereign nations. As a consequence, these casinos have long served as the final sanctuary for smokers across the state.

In recent years, a law modification in Palm Springs has prompted numerous casinos in the Coachella Valley to adopt a smoke-free approach. This included the three casinos run by Agua Caliente until the recent change.

This smoking initiative is not limited to the Agua Caliente casino in California. Illuminating the scenario, the Spotlight 29 casino hasn’t banned smoking throughout its premises, and the Morongo Casino allows it, but limits it to a room outfitted with roughly 100 slot machines.

Disapproval from the Public

Numerous smokers readily embraced the fresh regulation as they sat out in the open air during a recent excursion to a Palm Springs casino. Nevertheless, this action also ignited a heated discussion among some gamblers, including a few who turned to social media platforms to voice their disapproval of the ruling.

A few individuals expressed their disbelief that the casino decided to permit smoking once more, deeming it absurd. This decision came shortly after the casino unveiled a 73,000-square-foot spa and an innovative race museum just across the street in April. On the official website of the casino’s spa, they highlight the opportunity for guests to immerse themselves in mineral water that is renowned for its numerous advantages on both physical and mental well-being.

The choice to stop smoking once more can also have an impact on individuals who visit casinos for reasons unrelated to gambling and dining. The individual behind the renowned Jazzville jazz series, held in the smoke-free Cascade Lounge, has begun messaging guests, encouraging them not to overlook Jazzville. He emphasized that the series is free and conveniently situated just a short 15-second stroll from the casino entrance.

According to a report from the California Department of Public Health in 2022, the prevalence of active smokers among adults in the state was recorded at 6.2%. This statistic reflects a noticeable decline from previous years, as stated by the agency. Conversely, the report also highlighted that vaping rates among adults stood at 4.3%, a relatively consistent figure since the agency initiated monitoring this trend in 2017.

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