Home » Smoking ban in Swiss casinos, Camponovo (Lugano): ‘Effective change management’

Smoking ban in Swiss casinos, Camponovo (Lugano): ‘Effective change management’

Smoking ban in Swiss casinos, Camponovo (Lugano): ‘Effective change management’

The affair of the casino workers in Atlantic City, who had to go to court to obtain a total smoking ban in the rooms, has aroused interest in Gioconews.it to what happened before in Italy years ago and then in Switzerland. Andrea Camponovo, Casino Lugano’s operations manager, takes stock of the introduction of the smoking ban in Swiss casinos.

Has the introduction of the smoking ban in the Casino had negative consequences on the business in the short, medium and long term?

“Like all changes, even smoking ban in public places in Switzerland had a first wave of conflicting reactions: if it created an immediate benefit for non-smokers, smokers reaction stabilized after a period of adaptation. Even if it was limited in the initial period, in fact, the ban led to a reduction in the number of smokers in gaming halls, causing a temporary decline in attendance and revenues. However, this decrease was followed by a gradual recovery, thanks to the accurate and careful management that, for example, Casino Lugano has adopted. In fact, the changes resulting from the restrictive policies on smoking have been implemented by offering valid alternatives, such as well-ventilated smoking areas or comfortable outdoor spaces, such as the beautiful terrace overlooking the lake, effectively reducing the impact on the public and the negative reactions over time. All supported by clear and early communication to customers regarding the new regulations or usage guidelines within the rooms. As usual, effective change management can make the difference.”

At the same time, what were the advantages of this ban?

“One of the main targets of the smoking ban in casinos and in all public places was to improve the health and safety of employees, who are constantly exposed to second-hand smoke during working hours, and of customers during their stay in the room. The public health benefits have, in fact, made the ban a useful choice for the entire community.”

How were the casino spaces organized before the introduction of the smoking ban? Did workers and unions complain about having to be in contact with smokers?

“From my personal operational experience and information from my colleagues, I can state that we have never had to face such issues before the introduction of the ban. This is thanks to work management that has always paid attention to the well-being of customers and workers and to the protection measures adopted even before the ban, respecting the individual needs of the various employees.”

Are there currently any spaces dedicated to smokers? How are the employees who work in these spaces selected, if so?

“Currently, in our Casino, there are spaces reserved both for smoking customers, as I said above, equipped with Airsteril air systems, minimizing the smoke accumulation and improving air quality, and for employees within the common areas, sufficiently isolated and ventilated. We have a dedicated internal regulation which, thanks to staff shifts equally divided to limit the time spent for extended periods in the smoking areas, the exemption from the same of pregnant employees or people with health problems, allows us to protect operational staff, by limiting exposure to second-hand smoke in the designated rooms or avoiding it in some cases. Having well-defined company policies that regulate work in smoking areas and state-of-the-art management systems that limit exposure to smoke strengthens transparency, well-being and fairness within the organization.”

Do non-smoking players like to play in spaces designated for smokers, in the name of social relations, or do they prefer to stay in completely smoke-free places?

“There are always individual exceptions, but I can say that the majority of non-smoking customers prefer to avoid smoking areas if they can. This is mainly due to thoughts of health, comfort and personal preference. The winning strategy lies in knowing how to adopt an inclusive and accurate approach, committing to assure an environment suitable for all needs. This is a company choice that increasingly and better aims at creating a welcoming and pleasant environment for all visitors, improving the overall experience. The creation of dedicated, well-separated and well-ventilated areas allows us, in fact, to meet the needs of both non-smokers and those who like to smoke while playing, enjoying their time inside our facility without disturbing other customers. Offering the same quality and gaming proposal in both areas, clearly communicating and informing customers through specific signage, regularly collecting feedbacks from both smoking and non-smoking customers, helps us to continue to develop a customized, safe, unique and memorable service.”