New Jersey gamblers can light up Sunday as smoking ban ends

New Jersey’s yearlong coronavirus-inspired ban on smoking in Atlantic City casinos will end Sunday, just in time for the Fourth of July holiday.

Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday that an order he signed ending a public health emergency contained a “sunset” provision winding down the smoking ban within 30 days, which is Sunday.

While acknowledging gamblers will be free to light up again starting Sunday, the Democratic governor indicated he would look favorably on a measure lawmakers are considering to permanently end smoking in New Jersey’s casinos.

“I would be very constructive on that,” he said at a coronavirus briefing, stopping short of saying he would sign the legislation.

The governor’s remarks came two hours after dozens of casino workers and anti-smoking advocates rallied on the Atlantic City boardwalk to call for a permanent smoking ban.

Casinos are exempted from a state law banning most indoor smoking, while an Atlantic City law limits smoking to no more than 25% of the casino floor.