By WAYNE PARRY
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The chairman of the global Hard Rock casino and entertainment company spoke recently with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy about the “economic challenges” of banning smoking in casinos, which a bill pending in the state Legislature would do. Jim Allen says he was not trying to change the governor’s mind about signing a smoking ban, but rather to discuss the potential economic impact of ending smoking in casinos. A spokeswoman for the governor says he maintains his intention to sign a bill if one is passed. Smoking is allowed on up to 20% of the casino floor.