Rhode Island lawmaker reintroduces bill to ban smoking inside state casinos

Rhode Island lawmaker Rep. Teresa Tanzi, D-South Kingstown, has reintroduced a bill to ban smoking inside state casinos. If approved, the legislation would update the state’s workplace smoking ban passed in 2004, from which casinos are currently exempt.

“Casino workers are Rhode Islanders, parents, caregivers, taxpayers, and human beings, and they deserve the same protections as everyone else in our state,” Tanzi said, as reported by WPRI. “There’s no excuse for continuing to endanger their health, and we need to pass this bill to let them breathe safely like everyone else.”

When gambling properties reopened during the pandemic, a ban was implemented for Rhode Island’s two casinos – Bally’s Twin River Lincoln and Bally’s Tiverton – until March 2022, when smoking was once again allowed in designated areas.

For their part, the casinos hope the regulation will not be implemented. “It’s been our practice to accommodate smokers and nonsmokers in our Rhode Island casinos, and we hope to be able to continue to do that,” a statement from Twin River said, as reported by WJAR.

Tanzi introduced the legislation last spring, and casino workers rallied behind it, but the bill failed to make it out of committee. The push comes as casinos in Massachusetts and Connecticut already moved to not allow smoking indoors.