If California and Nevada Legalize Marijuana in the Near Future, Should Casinos Cater to Pot-loving Players?
Although California and Nevada both face numerous hurdles in their efforts to legalize the use and possession of marijuana, both are looking for an opportunity to pass legislation that allows them to tax and regulate the drug. These two forward-looking states are weighing the pros and cons of this debate as they continue to suffer from a fiscal crisis that is forcing them to find new ways to supplement their budgets. Both states already have laws allowing medicinal use of the drug.
Now, both states are looking into legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana so they can tax its sale to supplement state coffers. Several members of both state legislatures are calling for studies to continue investigating the possible benefits and it appears that some evidence supports a change in policy. These states will give residents a chance to vote on legalization in upcoming elections. Nevada residents already came close to legalizing pot in the most recent election year, so weed advocates there may soon get their wish.
If these states do find a way to legalize marijuana, it will be much to the liking of reefer-loving poker players everywhere, but casinos will have to adapt quickly if they want to attract users who play. Although political hurdles remain in the legislative process, it makes sense for casinos to explore their options now. Instead of waiting for pot to become legal, casinos should prepare so they can reap the income as soon as possible.
Pot-smoking players will bring more business to the gaming industry and cities with casinos.
Numerous poker players already smoke marijuana regardless of the plant’s legal status, so, realistically, it makes sense for casinos to adopt tolerant policies toward pot-smoking players once pot is legal. Considering that there are enough weed smokers to warrant creating a poker site like ReeferPoker.com, a Web site devoted to poker players who love the Ganja, it is fair to say that plenty of players are hitting the bong while reading this article. Attracting such players to casinos in Los Angeles and Las Vegas is a no-brainer.
Because these cities are being crushed financially, finding a new way to generate tourism dollars is crucial and if there is one thing that has been learned from a place like Amsterdam where weed is legal, it is that people go where they can puff. In other words, legalizing the recreational use of weed will bring more players and money to the states and to the cash-starved industry without the casinos having to spend their own money to try to attract players. Preparing makes sense.
Poker players are going to smoke marijuana anyway, and casinos are responsible for the safety of their patrons.
Use of medicinal marijuana is legal in 13 states including California and Nevada, so it is logical that stressed poker players would want to take advantage of the herb’s healing properties. Unlike nicotine and alcohol (common outlets for poker players who are stressed), which are seen by the medical community as bad for you, a number of doctors around the world have identified the medicinal value of marijuana, so it makes sense that some players who log long hours are going to partake. Why shouldn’t casinos create a safe place for players to relax instead of forcing them into back alleys where they may become prey for criminals?
I’m not suggesting that players be allowed to smoke pot at the tables, but I am suggesting that a specific location (preferably a ventilated room similar to a cigar lounge or a hookah lounge) be set aside where they could safely smoke out of view of the public.
In addition to setting up designated smoking areas, casinos, once the drug is legalized, could offer a shop where guests could safely buy smokes in the same way they buy a pack of cigarettes. By selling weed to casino patrons, casinos will give pot smokers a safe way to get their smokes.
Casinos should recognize that if you are old enough to lose your bankroll, you are old enough to make your own decisions about weed.
I’m a firm believer in our rights as U.S. citizens and I believe you should be allowed to smoke weed as long as you aren’t hurting other people. Instead of drowning in a bottle of liquor or pounding beers until they drop, poker players should be able to smoke a joint at a casino without being hassled by the security staff. These players don’t intend to harm other patrons or cause a commotion, so it goes without saying that players who are shipping big dollars in tournament and rake fees should be treated like adults and be given a sanctuary where they can go to smoke off a rough day at the tables.
During my travels as a poker writer, I have met a great many pot-smoking players. If you added up all the money they have spent on tournament fees and rake, you would see that they help keep the poker economy flowing in spades. Casinos will eventually have to cater to these players because their patronage is a big reason games are still taking place and the tournament fields continue to grow.
Restaurants would be packed.
Almost everyone who has ever smoked has gotten the munchies. Let’s face facts. Pot-smoking players like to eat and frequently they are the ones with disposable income to spend on food, so more than likely, hotel and casino eateries would see an increase in food sales during a tournament. Of course, this food phenomenon isn’t a proven fact, but where there is smoke, there is hunger, and I don’t think I’ve met many pot-smoking players who don’t head for the nearest food after they partake in Bob Marley’s favorite pastime. The incredible appetites of pot-smoking players have been known to keep room service busy during tournaments in L.A., Las Vegas and Atlantic City, so it makes sense for venues to help funnel such players to their dining spots.
In the end, it will be interesting to see which casinos jump at this idea first, as player loyalty is a big thing these days. Becoming “the spot” for pot smokers could mean beaucoup bucks for the host venue. Those that move swiftly will certainly increase traffic and dollars that are desperately needed without sacrificing much, so it appears that this idea is far from, to make a pun, a pipe-dream.
By Michael Friedman