A pair of Detroit casinos have designated indoor smoking areas to return.
MGM Grand Detroit and Hollywood Casino at Greektown gave the green light for indoor smoking.
Smoking on casino floors remains banned by the Michigan Gaming Control Board dating back to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, these two casinos have opened designated areas off the playing floor.
*Update: On Jan. 23, Gun Lake Casino announced it would be opening up a small smoking gaming area on its casino floor.
Where are the smoking areas in the Detroit casinos?
MGM Grand Detroit brought back indoor smoking on Wednesday, it announced in a news release.
The casino has designated two sections – labeled Smoking Slots East and Smoking Slots West. These were formerly Clear and Clear II.
Signage will direct guests to those areas if they are looking to smoke.
“These are the only indoor areas where smoking will be permitted,” says the MGM Grand Detroit website, “Doors have been added to minimize the impact across the casino floor.”
All other indoor spaces will continue to be non-smoking and the outdoor smoking patio will remain at the MGM Grand Detroit.
Hollywood Casino at Greektown allows smoking on its second floor and made the decision earlier this year. MotorCity Casino still has a non-smoking policy anywhere indoors.
Gun Lake Casino adds smoking gaming area
On Jan. 23, Gun Lake Casino posted a tweet, announcing that it would be adding a small gaming area that permitted smoking.
“With tremendous feedback from our guests and Team Members, we are now permitting indoor smoking in a specially designated gaming area,” the tweet read. “This space is the former non-smoking slot room next to the high-limit room. Please note that all other indoor spaces will remain non-smoking.”
The area looks to be an open section that is not closed off to the rest of the casino floor.
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights upset with decision
The decision to bring back smoking indoors on a limited basis doesn’t come without some criticism.
Cynthia Hallet, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, issued a statement on the decision, citing concerns for the casino employees.
“Detroit casino workers are receiving the equivalent of coal in their stockings this week. After more than two years of a safe workplace, these workers will now have to choose between their health and a paycheck,” Hallet said in the statement. “This is unacceptable. Efforts to try to separate smoking and non-smoking sections, such as adding doors, have repeatedly proven ineffective at protecting employees and guests from dangerous secondhand smoke.”
Hallet believes this decision is an attempt to appease a minority of the population while ignoring the health risks for the majority that visit the casinos.
“Even though only 12% of people in the United States smoke, some casinos continue to prioritize perceived profits from this dwindling group over the health of their workers. Times have changed. The majority of casino customers prefer a smokefree environment, and research shows that casinos without indoor smoking generate more revenue than their smoke-filled competitors. Casino companies with properties in Detroit also run smokefree casinos in cities across the country. Detroit workers deserve the same safe atmosphere as their counterparts elsewhere. We urge MGM Detroit and Greektown to reverse this decision and encourage MotorCity to maintain its smokefree indoor air policy.”
Majority of Michigan casinos are smoke free
As of December, there are over 1,000 U.S. casinos and gaming properties that are 100% smokefree indoors. That includes 148 Indian gaming facilities operating smokefree by their own policies.
Included in that list are Michigan casinos:
- Bay Mills Resort & Casino
- FireKeepers Casino Hotel
- Four Winds Casinos
- Island Resort & Casino
- Leelanau Sands Casino
- MotorCity Casino
- Northern Waters Casino Resort
- Odawa Casinos
- Saganing Eagles Landing Casino
- Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
- Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel
According to a report from Las Vegas-based C3 Gaming, casinos without indoor smoking outperform their smoking counterparts.
“Data from multiple jurisdictions clearly indicates that banning smoking no longer causes a dramatic drop in gaming revenue. In fact, non-smoking properties appear to be performing better than their counterparts that continue to allow smoking,” the report states.
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers also believe that ventilation systems don’t help prevent the impact of secondhand smoke.
“(Ventilation systems) are not effective against secondhand smoke” and “can reduce only odor and discomfort, but cannot eliminate exposure,” the ASHRAE informed casino executives. “There is no currently available or reasonably anticipated ventilation or air-cleaning system that can adequately control or significantly reduce the health risks of (environmental tobacco smoke) to an acceptable level.”
This is a developing story. We will continue to update as more information becomes available.