By Going Smokeless, Park MGM can be a Healthy Trendsetter on the Strip

By: Editorial, Las Vegas Sun

MGM Resorts International gave Las Vegas two reasons to cheer with its announcement that the Park MGM resort would reopen at the end of the month.

Not only is it a relief to hear of another Strip resort reopening, but MGM put icing on the cake by revealing that Park MGM would be a nonsmoking property when doors open Sept. 30.

That’s great for Las Vegas. And if it prompts other companies to follow suit, it’ll be even better.

There was a time when the idea of a nonsmoking casino in Las Vegas or anywhere else would have been as unthinkable as a movie theater without popcorn. The school of thought was that any local casino that went smoke-free would be committing economic suicide, because visitors would go to other places where they were free to light up.

But that’s outdated thinking. Hundreds of casinos across the country are now smoke-free and, at least until the pandemic hit, were doing quite well. Their success proves that smoking bans aren’t a deal-killer for casino visitors, any more than they’re a deal-killer for restaurants and other businesses that have gone smoke-free.

MGM Resorts deserves credit for watching this trend and responding to the great number of patrons and staff members who want a safe environment free of secondhand smoke.

We’ll see what happens with Park MGM, but we think the nonsmoking policy will be a hit.

It certainly will be a healthy step forward for the property’s staff, which, up to now, couldn’t escape the dangers of secondhand smoke while they were at work. Keep in mind that while resort air circulation systems are quite good, they’re not as effective at reducing smoke as an outright ban.

Also, with respiratory issues being front and center in the age of coronavirus, MGM’s move is a statement that the company understands how difficult it is for some patrons and workers just to breathe normally without worry of contracting COVID-19.

Industry experts are predicting that other resorts will follow MGM’s lead, which makes sense when you consider the modern business model of the Strip. Gone are the days when the companies relied mainly on gambling for their revenue. Today, the resort economy runs on a diversified stream of revenue heavy on shopping, dining and entertainment in addition to gaming.

Given that smoking isn’t allowed in most retail stores, restaurants and entertainment venues, it wouldn’t be a huge shock to the system of many casino visitors not to be allowed to smoke inside a resort.

It’s terrific for locals, too. At Park MGM, anyway, gone will be the days of coming home from a night out on the Strip and hanging your clothes outside to air out.

Here’s hoping we’re seeing the start of a fresh new trend on the Strip.

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Posted on 09/18/2020 in Smoke-Free