Boyd Gaming Casino Smoking Ban Proposal Rejected by Shareholders 

Shareholders at Las Vegas-based casino operator Boyd Gaming have voted down a proposal to commission a report into the viability of banning smoking at its casinos.

One concerned shareholder proposed the move at the operator’s annual meeting on May 9, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings released this week reveal. 

Shareholders owning 63.5 million shares in Boyd voted against the proposal. Those in favor held just 18.5 million collective shares. That means the proposal was soundly rejected by 77% against to 23% for. 

Boyd is just one of several Las Vegas casino operators currently facing so-called shareholder activism over indoor smoking. The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation has also engaged supportive shareholders of Caesars Entertainment and Rhode Island-based Bally’s to file for similar votes. 

Unilateral Adoption Not On

The proposal for a review of the smoking policy in Boyd Gaming casinos represents a new line of attack from anti-smoking campaigners. 

The proposal said that the risks of indoor smoking were not only harming customers and staff, but also casino business. 

It cited a study by Nevada-based gambling business consultants C3 Gaming. That said higher insurance premiums and maintenance costs associated with smoking have affected many casino businesses in Las Vegas since reopening after the pandemic.

However, Boyd’s board of directors were not swayed. They voiced their unanimous opposition to the proposal before the vote. 

“The proposal asks for a report on implementing a smoke-free policy. But we believe this proposal is the first step toward forcing our company to unilaterally adopt such a policy, regardless of the actions of our competitors,” the recommendation said. 

Smoking Policies

Boyd owns a dozen Las Vegas casinos, some of which are smoke-free. But most are not. Their properties in Nevada include the Fremont Hotel & Casino, Sam’s Town, Gold Coast, Suncoast, and the currently closed Eastside Cannery. 

It also operates regional casino properties across the U.S. Many of those are smoke-free because of differing state regulations. Blue Chip Casino in Indiana, for example, has no smoking allowed.

However, the situation is more complicated. In Shreveport, Louisiana, Boyd’s Sam’s Town casino has recently reintroduced indoor casino smoking. That’s after casinos in the area successfully challenged a local ordinance that banned the practice during the pandemic. 

Caesars and Bally shareholders are also expected to reject the proposals. Bally’s board of directors has already issued a recommendation against the proposal ahead of its shareholder meeting on May 16.

Meanwhile, Caesars went so far as trying to block the motion before it holds its general meeting in June. It said that indoor smoking should be considered under “ordinary business operations,” which can be exempt from shareholder votes in some cases. 

However, the SEC disagreed, and told the Las Vegas-based operator it was legally bound to reinstate the proposal for a vote.

© Copyright 2024 -