No Dice for Smoking Gamblers

Ill. casino bosses worry about losing business to tobacco-friendly rivals
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2008 9:12 AM CST
A man smokes at a gaming table. Casino bosses predict that Illinois' tough new anti-smoking law will cut their business by a fifth.   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The brand-new ban on indoor smoking in Illinois is expected to hit the state's nine casinos hard, the Chicago Tribune reports. Plenty of gamblers like a smoke, and along the Mississippi River, all they'll need to do is cross into Missouri or Iowa to enjoy one. "No smoking and I'm gone elsewhere," said one gambler.  "Gambling and smoking—they just go together."

Gaming operators in the state project that their business will drop 20%, costing state and local government millions in lost tax revenue. But not everyone is betting on the ban's being bad for casinos. "I'm sure many of us would come more often if smoking stopped," said an 81-year-old ex-smoker on a riverboat casino.