Atlantic City ban will last 7 days
Officials can't stop smoking ruling
ATLANTIC CITY - Atlantic City gambling floors will go smoke-free for seven days before allowing visitors to light up again because the city can't legally stop a smoking ban from taking effect, the City Council president said yesterday.
William Marsh, the City Council president, told the Associated Press that the unusual arrangement is the only way to proceed legally, and the ban will start on Wednesday as previously scheduled.
"It is the law right now . . . we won't be scrambling around to try to change the date," he said.
With the economy crumbling and revenues plunging, the City Council moved earlier this week to postpone for a year a law that was to take effect Wednesday banning smoking from the gambling floor.
The casinos and the head of their largest workers union had asked the council to put the ban on hold until the economy improves. They fear deep losses and significant layoffs if smokers take their money elsewhere. Some casinos in nearby states do not restrict smoking.
But the council's preliminary decision needs a final vote on Oct. 22, and the ban is set to take effect a week before that.
Thus, the ban will be in effect from Wednesday until Oct. 22, when the council is expected to approve the delay.
Marsh said council members spent all day Thursday considering options, including a special meeting to try to change the date, but were unable to agree.