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Readers Do Not Support Exempting Casinos From Smoke-Free Laws

December 8, 2010 Economy, Smoke Free, Sunday Poll 17 Comments

In the poll last week readers overwhelmingly support banning smoking in casinos.

Q: Should casinos be exempt from Smoke-Free laws?

  1. No, smoke-free laws are in place to protect workers, including casino workers. 82 [62.12%]
  2. All 21+ businesses should be exempt (casinos, nightclubs, etc) 23 [17.42%]
  3. All smoking bans should be repealed, exempt everyplace! 12 [9.09%]
  4. Yes, casinos should be exempt because of their economic impact, but not bars, etc. 9 [6.82%]
  5. Other answer… 4 [3.03%]
  6. Unsure/no opinion 2 [1.52%]

The four “other” answers were:

  1. NO! All public places should be smoke free.
  2. Air filtration systems to a certain safe air code.
  3. No, it’s not about workers, it’s about everybody.
  4. Casinos should be banned.

This as Illinois is considering amending it’s smoke-free law to permit smoking in casinos.

islecapegirardeaunewpromoLast week a community considering a smoke-free law, including casinos, was granted the final casino license in Missouri:

“The Missouri Gaming Commission awarded on Wednesday the state’s 13th and only available gaming license to St. Louis-based Isle of Capri Casinos, which wants to build a $125 million casino in Cape Girardeau.” (St. Louis Business Journal)

Last week I heard a radio commercial for smoke-free gambling at Harrah’s St. Louis:

“Remember that so-called “non-smoking” section tucked away in the back corner of the casino filled with the most unpopular games? Well, we’re shaking things up! In addition to our smoke friendly casino, we’ve also created the largest smoke-free casino featuring over 600 of your favorite games and tables!” (Harrah’s)

I don’t like casinos either way but the workers have no choice if they want to remain employed.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "17 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jzavist says:

    You're wrong about “the workers have no choice”. It's a known condition of employment when one first applies, much like how soldiers or police may get shot and die in their line of work. If one does not want to work around smokers, there ARE other places to work. They may pay less and they may be less interesting, but then one won't have to work unusual hours, or on weekends and holidays, either. Life is full of choices, and it sure ain't fair!

    Bigger picture, our region DOES now have options. The Casino Queen and the Alton Belle are both smoke free, and Harrah's is trying to be both. Only Ameristar, Lumiere Place and River City allow smoking everywhere. Both workers and players can pick the environment that they want to work or play in. Are there subtle differences? Yes! But if you want to gamble, you can, pardon the pun, pick your poison when it comes to air quality.

    • Wow, the job market is that easy? Here I thought it was more difficult to find work…

      • JZ71 says:

        Getting a job anywhere these days is tough – that's the point. Applicants may need to lower their standards, and most likely will need to compromise on multiple issues, including wages, schedules and working conditions.

        • So they have little choice but to accept a smokey workplace or be unable to pay the rent or mortgage.

          • MiamiStreet63139 says:

            I am in favor of the smoking ban, but don't understand it at all from the angles of the workers. If I didn't like alcohol I wouldn't work in a bar. If I didn't like perfume I wouldn't work at the Macy's fragrance counter. Let's get rid of smoking but let's not argue the point based on lame underlying points such as “protecting workers that volunteer to be around the smoke.”

          • JZ71 says:

            You got it – life ain't fair, and work is called work for reason. Do your job and collect a paycheck. It may not be pleasant, but it can be financially rewarding. And, unlike slaves, no one says you have to stay – if you can find something “better”, no one can stop you from leaving. But, if you want to pay your bills, you gotta work, unless you have access to other resources.

  2. Bill Hannegan says:

    This poll shows the Leftward tilt of your readership Steve. Only thirty percent of ordinary Americans favor a total ban on smoking in “over 21” places like casinos.

  3. Bill Hannegan says:

    And no Steve, the job market isn't that easy. That is one reason to oppose smoking bans. Government smoking bans cause job losses at bars and casinos.

    • Tpekren says:

      Won't comment on smoke free or light up the stacks, but your comment about smoking bans causing job losses has no basis unless you want to enlighten us with specific economic statistics. Sorry, people don't go to eateries to bars to casinos to smoke they go to eat to drink and to gamble.

      • Bill Hannegan says:

        Tpekren, I can't post links here for some reason, but a University of Wisconsin economist predicted a 20 percent decline in employment for the St. Louis City bar industry if a total ban on smoking was imposed in bars. I think a letter he wrote warning of this effect got the small bars their temporary exemption in the City.

        • MiamiStreet63139 says:

          Mr. Hannegan, I understand the concept that if the city banned smoking then some individuals might travel from the city to other areas to smoke in bars. However, if smoking is banned in St. Louis County and eventully St. Charles County then what happens? By the way, I don't understand how being anti-smoking and left leaning would be related? I know many conservatives in favor of a smoking bans and many liberals that want government hands off the choice to use certain chemicals.

          • Bill Hannegan says:

            MiamiStreet63139, if a ban everywhere comes, some people will just stay home. Me for example. I only smoke when I drink and if I can't smoke, I won't drink. I tried a smoke-free show when the Schwag played Off Broadway. I couldn't light up so I didn't feel like buying a beer. The music was great as always, but not as much fun as before with the new feeling of restriction so I never been back. The Off Broadway ban is a voluntary ban by business owners so I have never complained. Smoke-free just doesn't work for me as it doesn't for many others. I have been to at least 500 Schwag and Jake's Leg show spending I hate to think how many thousands of dollars. But if all such shows are smoke-free, I'll find something else to do.

          • Mike says:

            And here is a perfect example of why St. Louis and Missour-ah will continue to be a cultural backwater. No one will miss you at these shows, Bill.

          • Bill Hannegan says:

            Can you name any liberal politicians that oppose smoking bans. I can name many conservative politicians.

  4. Tpekren says:

    Like all things political, exemptions are about money. In this case, I think you defeat the purpose of any law/ordinance once you propose such an idea of letting businesses to go around them. I do think Cape should be able to make the local decision on smoke free or not and any business, either it be a casino, eatery, bar, etc. should work within that context.

    In other words, for or against, fair or unfair, I believe that casino has to work with the rules set forth by the Cape's residents and gambling commission should have weighed in on that concern when issuing the license. As the commission stated, they didn't have to issue a license if they didn't want to. Once again, a choice was also available to the gambling commission.


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