Only Non-Smokers Need Apply To West Side Casino

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An artist's rendering of the Hollywood Casino now under construction on Columbus' West side.(Photo:
An artist's rendering of the Hollywood Casino now under construction on Columbus' West side.(Photo:

The West Side casino that’s expected to bring a couple thousand jobs to Columbus has automatically narrowed its job applicant pool by about one-fifth.

Each job opening at the West Side casino has a different skill set and qualification except for one criterion: applicants must be non-smokers.

Bob Tenenbaum speaks for Penn National Gaming which owns the casino as well as one in Toledo expected to open this year. Tenenbaum said the Ohio casinos will be smoke-free.

“It’s also part of Penn National’s employee wellness program which includes on-site workout facilities and other health programs for the employees, and it’s simply an extension of that,” Tenenbaum said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 23 percent of Ohio adults smoke.

But The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company in Marysville saw a sharp decline in employees who smoked after it required them to kick the habit and began hiring only non-smokers about five years ago. Spokesperson Jim King said before the policy about one-third of employees lit up. Today, he said, that number is almost nothing.

During the same time Scotts implemented its rule, The Cleveland Clinic also stopped hiring smokers. The hospital, though, offers a free cessation course for potential new hires that test positive for nicotine and lets them re-apply for the job in 90 days.

But if you want to work at the West Side casino it’s best to snuff out the habit before you apply.

“That’s the message, yes…Anybody who’s thinking of applying for a position at Penn National, certainly in Columbus, has plenty of time, if they are a smoker and they want to apply, to quit smoking,” he said.

The company will start the hiring process this summer.

  • Crew Yell

    This is discrimination – smoking is not illegal in the US. As long as habits do not interfere with my work why should they not hire smokers?
    I am by no means condoning smoking as a habit, but it is not for the employer to decide what an individual can and cannot do with his own time.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not discrimination because smoking is not a protected class.

    • billK 50

      I agree, it IS discrimination. When employment can be denied for choosing a legal activity, where does it end? What if the employer is rabidly against pollution and refuses to hire anyone who drives? Same thing. I understand their intent, I just don’t agree with the method.

  • Anonymous

    I was born in OH but moved away in ’74 and recently moved back…since I’ve been back I was amazed at how many people here smoke…now I know the numbers support my observations! Makes me wonder WHY…I find this fascinating…I should also add that when I first moved back I started smoking for the first time in more than 40 years!!! Have since stopped but now I’m thinking about this phenomenon in a new way…