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Casinos In Romania Worried By Smoking Ban To Public Places

Casino Smoking BanRomania’s decision to extend the ban on smoking to cover all public indoor places has caused an alarm to the casino industry as establishments are concerned over a possible impact on gaming revenue.

The country had initially implemented a smoking ban only in schools, state institutions and hospitals and a bill to extend the scope of the smoking ban has remained pending since 2011.

The legislation moved quickly after a fire in a nightclub in Bucharest killed 64 people in October 2015. In December, the bill was passed and smoking was disallowed in public indoor locations which included bars, workplaces and restaurants. The bill has been rolled out from March 16.

The law states that establishments who are found violating the smoking law will face strict consequences which can result in the suspension of the bars, clubs and restaurants operating license. The new bill has additionally issued restrictions on locations where tobacco can be sold. According to local media, sale of tobacco products has been barred in health and education establishments. The ban is applicable for both state-owned and private institutions.

Public reaction to the ban has been favorable. It is estimated that more than a quarter of adults in Romania smoke but 75 percent of adults have said that they are happy with the ban. The local casino industry is however concerned that the ban will have a negative impact on its revenue going by similar bans that have occurred in other European Union countries.

Operators feel that smoking breaks reduce time spent on casino floors and also fear that patrons will become uninterested in coming to casinos.

In a statement, Violeta Radoi Executive Director, for the Slot Organizers Association ROMSLOT said,

European experience has shown that in other countries, banning smoking in the halls of game had serious repercussions on revenue of operators, which have fallen by 30 to 40 percent, although the law was not as tough as in our case.

Annual tax revenue from the gambling industry to the state is €600 million. Radoi has warned that this amount is likely to reduce with the ban. Romania is the 17th country within the Eurozone which has implemented extensive anti-smoking legislation. Radoi highlighted the fact that many countries such as Italy, Belgium, Austria and Sweden have added an exception to the ban by allowing smoking in gambling facilities. She said that Romania could also implement such laws as it would benefit the gambling industry.

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