Financial Feasability of a Non-Smoking Casino on the Vegas Strip

I just got back from a weekend in Vegas and had a great time. One thing that was striking, however, was the saturation of cigarette smoke at pretty much all indoor areas in buildings. As a non-smoker I was rather put off.

Here’s my idea: build a mega-resort on the Strip, like the Wynn or the Bellagio. Offer all the bells & whistles of other casinos. But make it entirely non-smoking. The casino floor, the lounges, the bars, everything. There is to be no smoking in the building.

My personal opinion is that it would do well. For one thing, I know I’m not the only non-smoking drinker & gambler in the world. For another thing, the abundance of small children I saw on the Strip tells me that Vegas (for some bizarre reason) attracts families. I’m sure parents of wee children would enjoy being able to walk from their hotel room to the street without having to cross a smoke-filled casino.

What do you think?

Hate it. As it is, casinos are one of the few places where smokers are not exiled to the elements. Non-smokers have everything else. Let us keep the casinos.

I suspect that the success of the venture would rest on the usual casino economic factors, and not on the smoking thing. The slot odds, the stakes at the gaming tables, non-gambling entertainment, food, rooms, ambiance, and how much you spend on these vs. how attractive they are. I know that I won’t gamble anyplace where the minimum bet on blackjack is $5.

Then you won’t be gambling anywhere in Tunica, and possibly nowhere in the State of Mississippi. Sometimes, during the week, you can find a $3 blackjack table.

They tried it (Silver Slipper?) across the street from the old Stardust and ended the experiment rather quickly. People didn’t go.

There are usually some “non-smoking” sections of the casino = “M Resort” has one - but they are rarely busy and usally quite empty to be honest.
The have better air filtration systems now that are quite good, but I suppose if you are a non-smoke and even get a whiff, you would notice.

Many of my friends are non-smokers and they rarely, if ever, complain about the smoke in casinos these days. In fact, my brother who is an ex-smoker and now easily annoyed by smoke, told me last visit he hardly noticed in any of the casinos we visited.

Ya beat me to it DMark, I recalled it but had to Google it to be sure.

In 1991, Silver City became a smoke free casino. After losing revenue from this decision, Silver City reinstituted smoking.

Goddamn right I won’t. I gamble(d) in Reno.

Then you’d hate the Sahara, with $1 tables.

The non-smoking casino would get my action. We go to Vegas annually for a tournament. If there were a non-smoking casino on the strip, I’d go out of my way to go gamble there.

The question isn’t so much how many non-smokers go to Vegas to drink and gamble–smoking rates being what they are, I’d guess non-smokers are in the majority. The question, rather, is this: How many non-smokers who go to Vegas to drink and gamble are bothered enough by the smoke to actively seek out a non-smoking resort?

I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know this–part of the appeal of going to Vegas to drink and gamble is hitting the various different casinos. If you’re the only non-smoking game in town, and I want to casino hop, I’m still going to be exposed to the smoking. Either I decide the non-smoking environment is worth limiting myself to your place the entirety of my vacation, or I decide the smoking doesn’t really bother me that much, eliminating the whole point of going to your resort in the first place.

Unless, of course, you had something else about your resort that was a draw. Insanely cheap rooms, a truly stellar restaurant, the loosest slots in town, Brad Pitt dancing naked nightly, something. And, of course, you run into the issue that whatever is a draw to one type of customer is a drawback to another type. The people who like the Bellagio tend not to like the “Disneyland” casinos that draw the families with wee children, and vice versa.

I couldn’t really make a prediction without a lot more information on the specifics of this resort you’d hypothetically build.

I think you nailed it. I’m in Vegas a few times a year, and I hate smoke. But these days, outside of some of the downtown casinos, I don’t really walk into any of the Vegas hotels (on the Strip or otherwise) where I’m bothered by the smell of smoke. The only time I usually notice the smoke smell is when I’m repacking my dirty clothes to go back home. There is definitely a smoke smell on the clothing, but nothing that was getting my attention while I walked through the casinos.

I don’t really see myself making a special trek to a casino just because it was smoke-free. Maybe 20 years ago, but then again, I wasn’t of legal gambling age 20 years ago.

Does anyone know why there’s no smoking in the World Series of Poker? Every time I watch it, it always strikes me as odd that not a single player is smoking.

If someone thinks smoking is a problem in Vegas, they’ve never been to Atlantic City.

You can smell like smoke there just from walking outside.

Personally, I’d love more smoke-free rooms at casinos, but I don’t know about an entirely smoke-free casino (for the reasons mentioned). The filtration systems there are far better than they were a couple of decades ago, and again, far fewer people smoke (even those who visit Vegas).

But when I go, I still want a cigar every now and again. C’mon, you’re in Vegas, that’s what you do!

RE: The Silver City example… that was in 1991. Prevalence, and public attitudes towards, smoking has shifted pretty radically since then. Again, not sure an entirely smoke-free casino would be a plus, but having more smoke-free gambling areas and bars would in 2010 be a boon for some people. Feelings change-- I remember a lot of folks in DC thinking that smoke-free laws would kill the bars; instead, it’s actually made it pleasant for folks to go there.

One last thing from the OP:

Is that at all the case? It was my understanding that Vegas abandoned the whole family friendly thing a decade ago. Back when the 1990s building boom started, you’d have casinos adding family friendly pool areas, amusement parks, mini-golf, etc., but none of it was all that profitable, and got quickly junked. This past decade the strongest years for Vegas was all built on the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” model, returning to its roots as an adult playground where you didn’t bring the kids. Maybe that’ll change again since the economy out there has tanked, but I’d be surprised if they return to the business model.

All I know is, back in the early 1990s you couldn’t walk around Excalibur or the Luxor without tripping over children. Last few years the times I’ve been to Vegas I see plenty of twentysomethings, maybe even a bit younger, but actual little kids and families were far and few between.

I saw scads of them when I was there last weekend.

As to what kind of casino I’d build: the Palazzo. Only non-smoking.

As a non-smoker, I would love it. But from a business model perspective, I don’t think it would fly. I like to gamble and hit the casinos whenever I’m on travel and there’s one nearby. It seems that the prevalence of smoking is orders of magnitude higher amongst regular casino patrons than the general population.

I was in Atlantic City for 3 days last week. My experience there was the same as every other casino. *Everybody *smokes! (Well, that’s what it seems like). People puffing away at slot machines, puffing away at the tables, and smoke smoke smoke that cigarette!

Even at the non-smoking tables, folks just wait for the shuffle and step 2 paces back to suck the tar out of yet another cig until the next deal is ready.

I would love to have a non-smoking casino to patronize. Unfortunately, I don’t ever see it being profitable.

Huh. I admit, I usually go there during “event” weekends (CES, Superbowl, Halloween, etc.) so perhaps I’ve missed them.

I just don’t know what you would do with kids in Vegas these days. The pool is still a pool, I guess, and there’s always the Stratosphere or something. But I’d just never think to take anyone under 21 there… it’s like taking a 5-year-old who’s allergic to shellfish to Red Lobster!

But, isn’t this exactly what smokers like? Instead of a law declaring all of them be nonsmoke the free market opening one and letting people choose? Why would you hate that?

Vegas seems to have ventilation done a lot better than other casinos.(I guess that goes hand in hand with their constant battle with desert heat.) I never noticed smoking when I was there. yet, the Chumash casino and the east coast casinos always give me second hand smoke diseases before I was even able to lose all my money in the penny slots.

Illinois’ smoking ban in casinos isn’t working out wellfor them financially.

I don’t know, either. I mean, some of the shows are PG (or even G), and there are some G-rated attractions (like roller coasters, Sigfreid & Roy’s animal habitat, etc.). But on the whole, Vegas != kids, IMHO.

And I’m hardly a prude (far from it), but in Vegas you can’t walk five feet without stepping over 700 little discarded little cards with girls showing their titties on them. I’m sure parents of preteen boys are all :smack: !

Put them on red and let 'em ride!

If the Sahara has $1 tables, then the minimum bet is $1. I don’t gamble in places where the LOWEST bet is $5.