Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort Case Study

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Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort; Hogansburg, NY

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BACKGROUND

In upstate New York, the casino market has become increasingly competitive over the past three years, as recent state regulations authorized the opening of ten new facilities through 2018. While the region’s gaming market becomes more crowded, it’s important that existing facilities take the necessary measures to ensure a safe, healthy and enjoyable environment for both patrons and employees.

Due to a statewide ban on smoking indoors, many casinos throughout New York are wholly smoke-free establishments. While adoption of this practice completely eliminates the potential for second-hand smoke inhalation and lingering unpleasant odors throughout the air, these casinos run the risk of decreased revenue as smoking guests are forced to leave the premises to enjoy a cigarette or patronize a smoking establishment.

For tribal casinos that are not subject to state regulations, casino owners and operators must consider clients’ expectation of a high level of air quality for a comfortable and worry-free gaming experience. In order to remain competi- tive in today’s marketplace, smoker-friendly casinos must find a balance between safety and enjoyment that provides a healthy environment for both smokers and non-smokers alike.

THE CHALLENGE

The Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort (AMCR) is located in Hogansburg, New York and is owned by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe. As a tribal casino, they are granted exemption from state-enforced non-smoking laws. As a facility that caters to both smoking and non-smoking patrons coming from Upstate New York, Southern Ontario and Western Quebec, as well as the state of Vermont, AMCR is fully dedicated to improving the gaming environment for all guests and employees throughout its 130,000 square foot facility.

However, the lingering effects of indoor smoking can be highly difficult to mitigate, resulting in continual complaints from customers regarding tobacco smoke and associated odors. Determined to find a solution to this growing problem, AMCR sought out an affordable and effective solution to address the harmful and unpleasant effects of cigarette and cigar smoke that would allow all guests to feel more comfortable and welcome as they enjoy many hours of gaming and entertainment.

THE SOLUTION

To increase their facility’s indoor air quality, AMCR decided to deploy Plasma Air’s air purification system via the company’s equipment leasing program. This innovative solution for managing and reducing the amount of smoke throughout an indoor environment utilizes cutting-edge bipolar ionization technology to naturally reduce both harmful toxins and unpleasant odors without the use of perfumes or ozone. As air passes over ionization tubes, millions of ions travel throughout the duct system and out onto the gaming floor, attacking odorous and harmful pollutants at the molecular level, ultimately reducing particles, neutralizing odors, controlling Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and killing bacteria and viruses, leaving behind a comfortable, safe and healthy breathing environment. Plasma Air installed 78 model 51F ionizers into 29 of the casino's Air Handling Units (AHUs). Duct mounting plates were also installed, making removal easier for ongoing maintenance.

In addition, Plasma Air’s leasing program allowed AMCR to avoid the large capital expenditure associated with the purchase of air purification equipment. Instead, the casino now utilizes its operating budget to provide superior indoor air qualitywhile receiving free maintenance, including annual tube replacement and anextension of the equipment’s warranty through the full term of the lease.

THE RESULTS

As a result of this new system provided by Plasma Air, AMCR’s fourth quarter survey results indicated a 24 percent reduction in smoking complaints from its patrons, while eliminating the need to install a walled-in smoking section that would isolate smokers from the general gaming floor. Employees also immediately noticed an improvement in air quality which is very important to AMCR management. With the establishment of a healthier and more comfortable environment, guests are now more likely to extend their stay at AMCR, resulting in increased revenue as well as enhanced customer satisfaction.

As Shannon Keel, the CEO/General Manager at AMCR, explained, "At Mohawk Casino, customer satisfaction is at the heart of our business, so when the odors and health hazards of second-hand smoke became a growing concern for many of our patrons, we knew we had to take action. After installing the Plasma Air system, our fourth-quarter survey results indicated a significant reduction in odor complaints."

Larry Sunshine, President of Plasma Air, added, "Plasma Air's ionization technology helped the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort realize a significant reduction in smoking complaints and increased satisfaction from both casino patrons and staff alike. AMCR was able to provide its patrons with a healthier and more comfortable environment following a fast and simple installation at no large capital expense."

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