Casino Smoking Ban Threatens State Tax Revenues
Tom Swoik of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association considers that the state taxes revenues have decreased $771 million over three years. He added that casinos would accept the smoking on the gambling floor, but restaurants and bars would be the areas where smoking is banned.
However, it was revealed that one Illinois casino earned a profit by another factor. It was in advance of its competitor across the Mississippi River in Iowa. This happened because that casino allowed smoking in its building.
In January 2008, the Rhythm City casino in Davenport had twice the casino revenues of Jumer’s Casino and Hotel in Rock Island, and the Isle of Capri had more than three times. But the Rock Island site passed ahead of its Iowa neighbor by opening a new casino at the end of 2008 and just barely trailed the Isle of Capri. In March, the Illinois casino announced revenues of $7.65 million in comparison with $4.76 million in the Rhythm City casino and $7 million in the Isle of Capri.
Wes Ehrecke, president of the Iowa Gaming Association, said that people want to go to the new places and that is why they go to the new casinos.
President John Cullerton financed the statewide ban on smoking and is against implementation of exemptions. However, according to his spokesman John Patterson, Cullerton promised to take steps “due consideration”.
Gov. Pat Quinn does not accede with it. He said that to go backwards is not the variant.
South Dakota losses
The smoking ban in Iowa does not include its state-regulated gaming floors and tribal casinos. Wes Ehrecke said that profit would reduce by 20 to 30 percent. It would cost the state $60 to $90 million in tax revenue, if the state were to put into effect smoking ban on the gaming floors.
Last November the statewide smoking ban was approved in South Dakota. Casino operators inform against the fact that this ban has reduced the demand for video lottery in North Sioux City. The video lottery is one of the state’s main sources of revenue and smoking ban forces consumers to go to Sioux City, Iowa, where they can smoke tobacco products and play it.
Sherry LaFleur, owner of Sherry’s Casino in North Sioux City, said that her business has fallen 33 % since the smoking ban in casinos was put into effect.
According to the South Dakota Lottery, video lottery revenues from the time the ban took effect through mid-April were $78.9 million, down 17 percent during the same period a year earlier.
In the St. Louis, six casinos strive for business, including the Casino Queen in East St. Louis and another in Alton.
The operators of Casino Queen reported that they had lost 20 percent of profit since the Illinois smoking ban came into force.
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