Casino Smoking Bans

When I was a kid the person at the table next to you at McDonald’s was allowed to smoke.  You could smoke on airplanes and at my schools there were smoking teacher’s lounges.  Anyone of any age could buy a pack of cigarettes.  It’s funny to see how quick things change.

Obviously smoking is the worst thing that you could do to your body.  There is no arguing that smoking is a leading cause of preventable death and second hand smoke is at the very least annoying to others and many studies show it is possibly fatal.  So how could anyone be against a smoking ban?

I will tell you that I am.  It isn’t because I think smoking is a great thing or that anyone should smoke.  I believe that private business owners should have the right to decide what should be allowed in their businesses.  That is my libertarian way and part of why I like living in Las Vegas.  There certainly aren’t people here telling you what you can and can’t do.  Well there are but they go back to California when the weekend ends.

There is another reason why I am against smoking bans, especially in casinos.  As annoying as it is to go in a casino for 10 minutes and coming out smelling like an ashtray it is the casino’s right to make the rules in their casino.  They know that banning smoking is terrible for business.  The anti smoking groups have always said that businesses that ban smoking in their establishments will see a rush of people and families into their establishments.  This rarely if ever happens and in the gambling business it never happens.

The Federal Reserve shows that Illinois lost 20% of their revenue after the smoking ban went into effect.  While smoking ban supporters blamed the economy all neighboring states that have casinos were up.  Illinois lawmakers are trying to bring back smoking to try and offset the losses in jobs and tax money.

In Montana revenues were down 18% and never came back.

Colorado casino revenue dropped 12.3% due to the smoking ban.

In November South Dakota voters passed a casino smoking ban.  In South Dakota there are two types of casinos.  There is a video lottery in virtually every bar and many gas stations where the state gets half of the net win.  In Deadwood the state gets $2000 a machine per year and 9% of the net win.  The video lottery was down 19.2% in the first month with Deadwood down 15-20%.  I visited Deadwood after the ban passed and it was as empty as I have ever seen it on a weekend.

Of course the anti smoking groups make a great point.  Protecting the health of casino workers is important.  Driving a cab and delivering pizza are much more dangerous jobs that aren’t really a necessity.  Maybe we should ban those too.  When it comes down to it adults are able to make adult decisions about where they will go and spend their money and how much risk they are willing to take with their jobs.  Nobody needs the government to tell them what they can and can’t do.  The marketplace can decide that on their own.  In the end it is freedom, private property rights, jobs and taxes that are lost.  Of course a lot of people don’t care about this issue.  Maybe they will care when the voters try to take away their gun right or start passing laws on what you can and can’t do in your own home.  Will it be too late?

Is smoking allowed in your state’s bars, casinos and restaurants?  Check out this Wikipedia page and find out.

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