A proposed plan to allow casino visitors to smoke cigarettes on gaming floors has been shelved by the Shreveport Council. Councilman James Flurry introduced an amendment recently in which he had hoped patrons at casino facilities would be able to smoke. The amendment isn’t going to see the light, which means Shreveport’s casinos will be smoke-free as of August 1.
No Smoking at Shreveport Casinos
The City Council meeting, at which this amendment was the main topic, lasted for four hours. In the first voting session, the council actually voted in favor of allowing patrons to smoke at these facilities. Four out of the seven councilmen voted for. But, after a long discussion, Randy Hayden, a consultant for Americans for Non-Smokers’ Rights who was present at the meeting, stated that, in the end, the council ended up shelving this problem.
The original legislation, which goes by the Smoke-Free Air Act, was supposed to be in effect on August 8, 2020, and according to this amendment, smoking was to be banned in casinos, bars and all other gaming facilities. However, it was postponed to August 1, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the council is actually thinking of allowing smoking in casinos.
The Reaction From Health Experts
Of course, health experts were heavily offended by the fact that Shreveport City Council wants to exclude casinos from the smoking ban. Smoke-Free Louisiana has urged people to oppose this new legislation and these events have gone so far that a petition has been brought up on the official website of the American Heart Association.
Local reactions have been mixed, with the majority of those polled indicating that they’re not opposed to a smoking ban. Across the US, casinos are going smoke-free and, according to the numbers, the ban is not impacting revenue as some opponents of the ban feared. In Maryland, for example, gross gaming revenue was 12.6% higher last month, with a ban in place, than it was in June 2019, when there was no ban.
The Affected Casinos
Shreveport City has just two casinos – El Dorado and Sam’s Town. Flurry stated that this ban would result in numerous job losses as people would just cross the river and go to Bossier City to enjoy gambling. However, Raegan Carter stated that this comparison is insensitive and it is the result of an industry that wants to take money from the people, rather than take care of its workers.
It is worth mentioning that Bossier City allows patrons to smoke at casinos. That is why Flurry said that he does not want to be held accountable for the potential job losses.
Carter, with Smoke-Free Louisiana, states that the comparison between the job losses and the ban on smoking is unjustified. She used Park MGM and Resorts World Las Vegas as perfect examples. She said that both of these casinos are well-respected and profitable facilities, but have banned smoking on their property. That is how they ensured that their workers and visitors are treated the way they need to be treated. For the record, more than 120 casinos in the US are smoke-free.
But, Flurry disagrees with this and states that Bossier City will have an upper hand in this case, which is why the smoking ban is unfair.