Casinos to become smoke-free on June 1

The days of puffing while playing the slots at casinos across Ontario will come to an end June 1 with the implementation of Ontario’s new smoking ban that requires all public and work places to be smoke free.

The ban will include Casino Rama near Orillia and the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino near Port Perry — Ontario’s only two casinos built on natives‘ land.

At Casino Rama, the Mnjikaning First Nation has passed a bylaw similar to the one adopted by the Ontario government, said spokesperson Jenna Hunter. Hunter said that no smoking will be permitted inside the building with the exception of some hotel rooms.

In the case of the Great Blue Heron, the Mississaugas of Scugog Island, who own and claim legal jurisdiction over the casino located on their reserve, say they have given in to pressure from patrons and staff and will ban smoking entirely at the end of this month.

„Many employees and customers have come to expect smoke-free facilities and the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation will make their smoke-free regulations effective at the same time as Ontario’s,“ Chief Tracy Gauthier said in a statement.

The casino was given an exemption from Durham Region’s smoke-free bylaw two years ago when the First Nation asked for time to consider its effects.

Gauthier said input from casino patrons and the operation’s 700 employees has convinced community leaders it is time to ban the butts. Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission spokesperson Teresa Roncon said all other casinos will go smoke-free by month’s end.