Campaigners call for smoking ban at Crown Perth
Calls have grown to make Crown Perth’s high-roller areas smoke-free.
Mirage News reports Western Australia’s leading health groups hope the casino follows a decision made by Crown Melbourne to declare all high-roller gaming areas smoke-free for a period of two weeks to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, in response to health and safety concerns raised by casino workers.
“The fact that smoking is still allowed in high-roller gaming areas is outdated and shocking and inconsistent with health and safety legislation,” Cancer Prevention and Research Director Melissa Ledger said.
“Since the smoking exemption was granted in 2006 under WA’s tobacco legislation, the size of the high-roller areas has increased significantly, exposing more workers and patrons to second hand smoke.
Chief executive of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health Maurice Swanson said Crown Perth is the only enclosed workplace in WA that allows its staff to be exposed to second hand cigarette smoke.
“We have known for nearly 40 years that second hand smoke causes lung cancer and it is now firmly established that second hand smoke causes heart attacks.
“No ventilation system can remove the pollutants generated by cigarette smoke, and this evidence has been available for many years,” Mr Swanson said.
President of AMA WA, Dr Andrew Miller, said Crown Perth was sending a very poor message to its staff and the community about the importance of their health.
“All employees at the casino deserve to work in a safe environment without being exposed to second hand smoke,” Dr Miller said.
“There is also evidence that if you smoke or inhale second hand smoke, your risk of contracting COVID-19 is increased.
“If Crown Perth is not prepared to do the right thing by its staff and patrons, the state government should immediately remove the exemption that allows smoking to continue in certain areas of the casino.”
Crown halts VIP room smoking in Melbourne amid dealers’ concerns
Fears for its staff’s safety has prompted Crown Resorts to ban its high rollers from smoking cigarettes and cigars in enclosed VIP areas.
The New Daily reported in November that the last minute backflip occurred on Monday night after complaints from Melbourne workers, who were worried about catching COVID-19 from smokers coughing and exhaling in their faces as they dealt cards.
A Crown spokesperson said: “We will ask customers to step outside to smoke as part of Crown’s cautious and gradual progression towards COVID normal.”
“We will reassess this again with the benefit of revised government directions next month.”
Coronavirus concerns were raised on Sunday when Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced casinos would be allowed to reopen from Monday under a further easing of lockdown restrictions.
Under the new rules, Crown’s Melbourne casino was now allowed up to 1000 patrons, with table games like blackjack and baccarat set to restart on Wednesday when the venue officially reopens.
Under a special legal exemption, big spending high rollers are allowed to smoke while gambling in VIP areas to enable what Crown calls “significant international play”.
These people aren’t just regular gamblers, but what dealers call high net worth individuals, who can spend up to $500,000 in a single hand.
Even without a global pandemic, many dealers resented having to breathe in gamblers’ second-hand smoke, which can cause long-term respiratory issues later in life.
In October, Star Entertainment Group, owners of Treasury Casino and Star Casino on the Gold Coast and in Sydney moved to ban indoor smoking at its venues by 2023.
Only the ACT, South Australia and Tasmania have banned smoking in all enclosed areas of casinos, including high roller rooms.
Dealers at Crown hope the company follows suit.