LAS VEGAS – The ashtrays are gone.
The card table view is clear.
The air is crisp.
"My clothes aren't smelling," Pete Thorne, 81, said, standing near a slot machine inside Park MGM – the Strip's first smoke-free hotel-casino.
The MGM Resorts property reopened Wednesday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the resort for seven months, and its return came with a new rule: No smoking.
Scattered around the casino are signs reminding guests of the ban that limits lighting up to three designated areas outside the building:
As the COVID-19 death toll rises, smoking inside casinos resurfaced as a make-or-break detail for travelers planning vacations, and companies such as MGM Resorts restrict where visitors can puff tobacco.
Visiting guests warmly received the smokeless atmosphere.
"It's the greatest thing in the world," said Jane Stalls, 72, of Storden, Minnesota. "I hate sitting next to people who smoke. Anytime someone sits next to me smoking, I move."
Guests can smoke in three places: The Rideshare Zone off the main lobby, the front door of NoMad Hotel attached to Park MGM and the Central Park Terrace on the second floor of the convention center.
Smokers such as Kendra Haggerty of Council Bluffs, Iowa, didn't mind the change.
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Though she enjoys a cigarette every now and again, she doesn't identify with the classic Las Vegas casino chain smoker – the gamblers puffing on a new smoke every 10 minutes.
"It's nice that people have the option to visit a smoke-free casino," she said.
Walter Jack, 39, of Florida, said he respects MGM's choice to ban smoking, but he doesn't expect smoke-free casinos to become the norm on the Strip.
"To each his own," he said. "You have to match your clientele. Some people like to come to Las Vegas to indulge in smoking. Others view smoking as unhealthy."
This article originally appeared on Reno Gazette Journal: Las Vegas Strip's first smoke-free resort is open