Fresh, recycled air?
One of the nice things about poker is that smoking is not permitted in most live poker rooms. So if the time you spend in a casino is spent playing poker, you can breathe easy (relatively, considering you are still in a casino huddled with poker players). But the rest of the casino usually permits smoking, which can be a problem for people who want to enjoy some entertainment on the casino floor, but also want to maintain pink lungs. Fortunately, for Las Vegas visitors, it appears that one casino might have a breathable atmosphere. If signs that were recently spotted inside Park MGM are accurate, the casino might become the first smoke-free gaming establishment on the Las Vegas Strip.
Now, Park MGM, once known as Monte Carlo, is not open yet, despite Nevada casinos being permitted to reopen June 4. But it looks like the staff is preparing, particularly because of the presence of a sign of which someone was able to snap a photo. I am not sure exactly where it is on the property (I would assume there are many of them), but it reads, “Let’s Clear the Air. Park MGM is smoke-free.”
Rumor mill has been churning
This doesn’t necessarily mean that smoking will be banned permanently, but it’s a good guess. The day before Nevada casinos reopened, Las Vegas lifestyle blog Vital Vegas reported that it was going to happen. And while it was just a rumor at that point, Vital Vegas tends to be correct on these things.
The blog also cited a survey that MGM Resorts International sent to loyalty club members, one question of which asked about their thoughts on a smoke-free casino.
“The best players at Park MGM are already being contacted by their casino hosts to make sure they’re cool with the smoking ban,” Vital Vegas added back in early June.
But why would Park MGM do away with smoking? First of all, why not? We can’t smoke in most indoor establishments, so why shouldn’t a casino make a healthy choice? Second, while we hope that people aren’t walking around a casino infected with COVID-19, there most certainly are, so eliminating something that can affect breathing would be helpful during a respiratory virus pandemic.
And third, while some might see banning smoking as a competitive disadvantage (why go to Park MGM when you can go anywhere else and be allowed to smoke), MGM Resorts might see it as a competitive advantage. Or at least be interested to test it out. Park MGM, while a nice place, just doesn’t have the name, niche, or kitsch draw that other Strip casinos do. Lady Gaga was going to be an artist in residence in April and May, but that didn’t happen. Park MGM is likely aiming to draw guests who are turned off by smoking everywhere else.
UNLV Gaming Research Professor Dr. David Schwartz put it simply, telling KSNV, “Well, I think people who like smoking while they gamble will be alienated. I think people who don’t like breathing in smoke while they gamble will like it.”