Following an eight-month shutdown at Crown Melbourne, this week the casino will reopen gaming areas, including VIP rooms where patrons are permitted to smoke indoors.
Crown initially indicated they would allow indoor smoking from this week, permitted under archaic exemptions by the Victorian Government. However, under pressure from casino union members, Crown has advised they will suspend indoor smoking temporarily until the 6th of December.
Workers are particularly concerned about the impact of indoor smoking during COVID-19, however, they are pushing to make this ban permanent post-pandemic.
Across the country, casinos are some of the only venues where you can still smoke inside, but workers and the public are increasingly calling for an end to this practice.
Earlier this year The Star, who operate casinos in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, announced they would phase out indoor smoking completely by the end of 2022.
Tobacco smoke is known to be toxic, and exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke in the workplace means workers are being exposed to dangerous chemicals.
Approximately 1,000 Crown Melbourne workers are exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke as part of their work.
The United Workers Union is calling for Crown Melbourne to transition to a smoke-free workplace and for all Crown workplaces to be smoke-free.
Given the enduring health pandemic and the associated and ongoing lack of international patrons at the casino, this is an ideal time for this transition.
Quotes attributable to United Workers Union Casinos Director Dario Mujkic:
“This is an important step for the health and safety of both workers and the public. Now we need to make it permanent and transition all Crown venues to be smoke-free.
“No worker should be knowingly exposed to toxic chemicals at work. We shouldn’t accept this as the status quo for Crown workers. It’s dangerous and needs to change.”
Quotes attributable to Chris Ball, Crown Melbourne Dealer and United Workers Union Member:
“Crown has been allowed to endanger the lives of workers for decades. The time to eliminate the deadly hazard of passive smoke is now.”