Smoking will now likely be banned in just 75% of Atlantic City casinos' floor space following the city council's initial approval of a compromise bill Wednesday evening. The move is being heralded as a "best-case scenario" for casino operators, who were previously facing the possibility of an outright smoking ban. Industry officials had projected a full ban would result in a 20% revenue decline in the market. However, the compromise brings with it numerous issues to settle. "It remains difficult to determine the impact and the costs associated with the ban," Deutsche Bank analyst Beth McNellis wrote in a research note Thursday morning. Among public companies, the matter primarily affects Trump Entertainment ( TRMP), which gets all of its revenue from Atlantic City. "The partial ban in conjunction with new slot competition in the region (PA, NY) has the potential to weigh on
Trump shares in the near term," McNellis wrote. Shares of Trump recently were down 22 cents, or 1.2%, to $17.78. Boyd Gaming ( BYD) and MGM ( MGM) have much less exposure in the market, solely at the Borgata Casino, which they jointly own. The city council will give a final vote on the compromise bill Feb. 7. Although the casino industry backs the compromise, the measure could face challenges down the road. Casino employees quoted in local papers have already complained about having to work in the designated smoking areas. The New Jersey state legislature exempted casinos from a statewide smoking ban a year ago. Ever since, the elected officials have faced pressure from anti-smoking advocates. Industry experts say the legislature could once again revisit the issue and decide that the new compromise bill makes health issues even worse for those employees who have to work in the smoking areas.