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Boyd Gaming Facilities to Remain Smoker-Friendly

Boyd Gaming shareholders overwhelmingly rejected a proposal last week aimed at studying how the company’s land-based casinos could go completely smoke-free. The motion to study the impact of a smoker-friendly casino tanked by a margin of 18.5 million votes in favor of the study and 63.6 million votes against.

The effort to move towards smoke-free casinos was launched by nonprofit healthcare system Trinity Health and Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR). According to ANR, around 60 percent of casino visitors are in favor of no-smoking policies and about 90 percent of them are not smokers at all.

But in the ultra-competitive world of casino management, sending that ten percent of their customer base somewhere else is simply unthinkable. Company officials said that implementing a full smoking ban would create “negative customer churn”, especially in their Midwest and Southern markets. “The proposal asks for a report on implementing a smoke-free policy, but we believe this proposal is the first step toward forcing our company to unilaterally adopt such a policy, regardless of the actions of our competitors,” the company said in a letter to shareholders.

Officials from the ANR remained undaunted telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “We’ve established an incredibly strong foundation from which to build — most proposals don’t even make it to a vote, let alone reach double digit-level support. With this issue now reaching the boardroom, companies cannot hide from this important matter that affects the health and well-being of their employees and guests. We are confident that we now have the attention of the highest level executives at not just Boyd Gaming but across the entire gaming industry.”

Shareholders at Caesars Entertainment and Bally’s Corp will be asked to consider similar proposals at their upcoming meetings, though the results aren’t likely to differ much from Boyd’s.