Walk through any Atlantic City or Las Vegas casino in you won’t just find that luck is in the air. There’s something else. A whole lot of cigarette smoke. Cigars too, actually. But that could very well change in Iowa if the government has its way.
Iowa banned smoking in bars and restaurants across the state back in 2008. There had been some pushback when the law was first announced, but studies have shown that revenues didn’t change much. After all, if you can’t smoke at any bar in the state, your only choice is to not go out. And people love to eat in drink, let’s be real here.
But when the law went into effect, there was a provision that exempted casinos from the anti-smoking legislation. That could change if Democratic Lisa Heddens and Republican Kevin Koester have their way.
They want to remove the exemption and force casinos to comply with the law. That seems all well and good, except for one thing. The law wouldn’t apply to all casinos. Tribal casinos would still be exempt from the policy, so if you’re a heavy smoker who loves to enjoy some tobacco while you play Blackjack, you might move your game there.
The Iowa Gaming Association thinks that an anti-smoking law could have dire consequences and result in $60 million in revenue losses. That could end up being the case, but a desire to smoke isn’t the only thing that makes a casino attractive, so I believe these numbers are overinflated.
Personally, as a non-smoker, I love not having to deal with smoke while I play. Many states, including California, Oregon, and Florida have a 100% smokefree law in effect at all state-regulated gambling institution. However, tribal casinos are able to offer a smoking environment in many cases.
What are your thoughts on this? Are you a smoker concerned about losing your privilege? Or are you a non-smoker excited that the government is doing something to improve your experience while you gamble? Sound off with a comment. We’d love to hear from you. And if you feel like it, stop by for a game or two while at it.