Las Vegas Gambling With No Smokers? . . . . It's Becoming A Reality!!

Our health conscience society has forced Las Vegas of all places to get on board

Bellagio Hotel, People playing slot machines
••• Sylvain Sonnet / Getty Images

So you want to try your odds in Las Vegas, just one problem: for health reasons you cannot tolerate the smoke or, like me, the smell can make you crazy. As you scout out the perfect spot to make your fortune, you notice a row of empty slot machines, free and clear of any smoke. You have invested a lot of time and now money, when two slot machines down A SMOKER lights up and starts to play. How rude!!! What do you do? Moving is not an option, this machine WILL WIN. As I see it, you have a few options:

1. Give him the evil eye and put a curse on the machine that each pull of the slot will render him penniless. Not your style? Then . . . . .

2. If you happen to have asthma, and you are carrying your inhalers, pull them out, take a couple of puffs, or least pretend to, which will show your obvious discomfort. If that doesn’t work and you need something more extreme then try this . . . . .

3. This will require any acting abilities you have, even if they were attained from childhood. Start coughing and hacking away, grabbing your chest as if you are having a hard time breathing. I would normally suggest falling onto the floor, but with all the cameras you have to be careful about drawing too much attention to yourself as security will promptly assist you by calling 9-1-1. A little too extreme? How about this . . . . .

4. If appearances don’t tend to bother you, then invest in one of those respiratory masks and when the occasion calls for it, just slap it on and you can still achieve your fortune. Two things will be assumed: you are either a Michael Jackson wan-to-be or you are one of the few remaining people that feel that SARS is still a threat. You win either way, people quickly move away from you and if smokers stay, the smoke can’t penetrate the mask.

All right, all right, enough with the fantasy world and into reality. There are ways to enjoy gambling in Las Vegas and here are a few tips to stay clear of the smoke:

Gamble at the newer hotels. They have improved ventilation and air-filtration systems, which older hotels downtown do not have. It really makes a difference. Unless you are sitting right next to a smoker, it is hard to tell where the smoke is.

Avoid the crowds. Not too long ago, it was a ghost town in Vegas in the summer. Now, it is just as crowded as going to any other popular destination around the holidays or summertime. Less people means less smoke, so if possible schedule your trip around these times.

Gamble in casinos that offer designated smoke-free areas. Here is a list of a few:

Bellagio designates some gaming areas, including the poker room as non-smoking. They evaluate each pit in the casino and make adjustments day-to-day for nonsmokers.

Harrah’s Las Vegas has a 1,000 square foot non-smoking gaming section, which includes reel slots, video poker machines, blackjack and roulette tables.

MGM Grand offers nonsmoking gaming tables and a designated nonsmoking slots section in the main casino.

The Mirage has fresh air pumped into the poker room and contaminated air pulled out of the building. Not only does this help to keep the air clean, but rumor has it that oxygen is pumped in to keep gamblers awake so they will not leave the tables.

Virtually all showrooms are now smoke-free. Most hotel-casino convention centers are non-smoking. Indoor pools, family arcades and health spas are also generally smoke-free. All restaurants are now smoke free in Las Vegas so you can be sure to enjoy your meal without the extra scent of tobacco.

As a non-smoker myself, I remember the days of the smoke filled casinos and coming out smelling like I had become a cigarette. Those days are gone, maybe not downtown, but it is not the same Vegas as it once was. The food, gambling, shopping, spas and beautiful hotels can be enjoyed by all, even those most sensitive to smoke