Butts Are Back For Summer: Pennsylvania Casinos Can Allow Smoking To Return

Written By Katie Kohler on June 25, 2021 - Last Updated on August 1, 2021

Smoking is permitted again at Pennsylvania casinos. The return of smoking indoors comes as a result of Pennsylvania officially ending its universal masking order on Monday, June 28 at 12:01 a.m.

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) said that regulators informed all Pennsylvania casinos that they can allow smoking indoors again.

Smoking at permitted at PA casinos

When the Clean Indoor Air Act was approved by PA lawmakers in 2008, it banned smoking in public indoors. But there is an exceptions for casinos, private clubs and cigar bars.

Before the coronavirus shutdowns, casinos could allow smoking on up to 50% of the square feet of the gaming floor. It will remain the case if casinos choose to decide to allow smoking to return.

All Pennsylvania casinos closed in mid-March to slow the spread of coronavirus and started to reopen in early June 2020. The PGCB, in concert with guidelines for mask-wearing at the state’s casinos, put a no indoor smoking rule into effect.

All the casinos in PA set up outdoor areas to accommodate smokers.

Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia. Photo by Kevin Shelly.

Can you smoke at casinos in PA?

The following casinos in PA now allow smoking indoors

(We called each casino and asked customer service reps)

  • Live! Casino Philadelphia
  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia
  • Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
  • Lady Luck Nemacolin 
  • Wind Creek Casino
  • Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia
  • The Meadows
  • Presque Isle Downs
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
  • Mount Airy Casino (as of July 5)
  • Live! Casino Pittsburgh

In a Facebook message inquiring about smoking indoors at Hollywood Casino, they replied:

Due to the repeal of the mask mandate per the Governor, as of this week PA casinos have re-introduced smoking, including ours. Listening to input from our guests and team members over the past months, and after much consideration, we have added this amenity to specific, select areas on the clearly marked for the convenience of our smoking guests. Smoking is not permitted in gaming areas near our entrances, or in table gaming.

Presque Isle Downs posted the following on their Facebook page:

Have you heard the news? The smoking ban has been lifted at Presque Isle Downs and Casino and you will now be able to smoke in designated areas. We are excited to use our state of the art filtration system that recycles the entire casino floor air in just 4 1/2 minutes!

PA casinos currently not allowing smoking

  • Parx Casino: We called Parx on Wednesday and they “not yet” to smoking indoors.

Can you smoke at casinos in Atlantic City?

Yes. New Jersey’s Public Health Emergency ended on July 3 and the temporary smoking ban was lifted.

Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, penned various editorials, made appearances on news outlets and reached out to the PGCB with a consistent message:

Pennsylvania should join 20 other states that have banned smoking in casinos by making the temporary ban permanent.”

When the COVID-19 emergency masking orders were lifted in PA and smoking returned to casinos, Hallett released this statement.

“Indoor smoking is a pre-COVID relic that should not return. Pennsylvania casinos have been thriving while operating smokefree, and the CDC has called smokefree policies enacted over the last 15 months a ‘silver lining’ of the pandemic. It’s misguided and dangerous to revert back and put the health of gaming employees and guests at risk. We are calling on Pennsylvania’s elected officials, including Governor Wolf, to support legislation to close the casino loophole and make casinos permanently smokefree indoors. Our request is simple: just move smoking outside, like every other business in society.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) referred to smokefree casinos as a “silver liningof the pandemic:

Brian King of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health:

“If all these casinos remain smokefree even post Covid-19, this could have an immeasurable (impact) in terms of not only protecting the public who attend these venues, but also workers who are working eight hours or more per day in these environments.”

Mask rules and other updates at Pennsylvania casinos

No masks if fully vaccinated when visiting any Pennsylvania casino:

  • The Meadows
  • Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
  • Valley Forge Casino
  • Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia
  • Hollywood Casino
  • Parx
  • Presque Isle Downs
  • Lady Luck Nemacolin
  • Mount Airy Casino
  • Mohegan Sun Pocono
  • Wind Creek Casino
  • Live! Casino Pittsburgh
  • Live! Casino Philadelphia
  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia

Also, you will find the plexiglass partitions have been removed.

Lead photo by Mel Evans (Associated Press)

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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She is the Managing Editor at PlayPennsylvania and covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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