LAS VEGAS, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- The Las Vegas Strip is a hotbed of a practice under attack around the world these days -- smoking -- and some business leaders say they hope it stays that way.
As bans on public smoking spread, the casinos of Las Vegas have become a smoker's refuge, The New York Times reported.
Nevada voters handily passed a crackdown on public smoking four years ago, but the gambling industry made sure casinos were exempt. Blackjack dealers and croupiers are pursuing a $5 million federal class action lawsuit against the Wynn Las Vegas for protection from second-hand smoke, but the best their lawyers expect is installation of better air-cleaning systems.
Local business leaders and officials say a ban would hurt the casino trade, arguing that smoking is as vital a part of the Vegas experience as free drinks, playing slots at 7 a.m. and escort services. Atlantic City, N.J., tried outlawing smoking in 2008, but gave up a month later after complaints from casinos.
Smoking is officially prohibited in restaurants, shops, hallways and other non-gambling parts of Las Vegas casinos. But Stephanie Steinberg, an advocate for casino workers, said, "The reality is there's no enforcement."