This March 9, 2016 photo shows a sign denoting a smoking section of the casino floor at the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City, N.J. On Thursday, April 15, 2021, health advocates, smoking opponents and some New Jersey lawmakers called for the state's temporary ban on casino smoking, imposed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, be made permanent once the outbreak ends. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

By WAYNE PARRY Associated Press
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Health advocates say New Jersey’s temporary coronavirus-related ban on smoking in the Atlantic City casinos should be made permanent, and some state legislators say they’ll push to make that happen. But the casinos say permanently banning smoking once the pandemic has ended will drive away customers, leading to job losses and lower tax revenue for the state. They say the gambling halls have invested heavily in air filtration equipment that renders the workspaces safe. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, casinos in 20 states are smoke-free, and three additional states — New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan — have enacted temporary virus-related smoking bans.