Rep. Tanzi and Treasurer Diossa back shareholder study of going smoke-free in RI casinos


STATE HOUSE — Rep. Teresa A. Tanzi, joined by casino workers and advocates, delivered a letter to State Treasurer James A. Diossa Thursday urging him to vote in favor of a Bally’s shareholder proposal to study the potential cost savings of adopting a smoke-free policy for Bally’s properties. Treasurer Diossa announced today that he will back the proposal.

 IN PHOTO: In foreground, from left, Rep. Teresa A. Tanzi and Treasurer James A. Diossa.“Casino workers are Rhode Islanders, parents, caregivers, taxpayers and human beings, and they deserve the same protections as everyone else in our state. It is fundamentally wrong to say that no one should be exposed to secondhand smoke in the workplace, but carve out an exception that leaves one group of workers not only unprotected, but in fact, bathed in smoke every day,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett). “The shareholder proposal is another way to ensure Bally’s protects its workers. The state’s public commitment to voting in favor of the proposal sends a clear message that Rhode Island has the backs of our hard-working residents who have put up with this dangerous work environment for far too long. I’m so happy to have brought this issue to Treasurer Diossa’s attention and that he’s agreed to support the proposal and I will continue working to advance legislation to end indoor smoking at casinos.”

Representative Tanzi’s legislation (2024-H 7500) would remove the exemption in Rhode Island law that allows indoor smoking in casinos. It would also appropriate $1 million to create a promotional campaign informing potential new patrons of the smoke-free policy. Since only about 11.8% of Rhode Islanders smoke, enacting the law would create a more inviting, and healthier, environment for the majority of the state.

The shareholder proposal would request the Bally’s Corporation Board of Directors commission and disclose a report to be published within six months following the 2024 shareholders meeting.