South Dakota Bans Smoking in Casinos

pokeraddict

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South Dakota, home of "Wild West" casino town Deadwood and hundreds of video gambling establishments has passed a smoking ban in all casinos that is basically a signature from the governor away from becoming law. Estimates are that this would cost the state 30% of their gambling revenue which is the #2 income stream for the state behind sales tax as the ban will not affect the reservation casinos. There also are not bans in casinos in North Dakota or Iowa which will drive some of the players out of state.

I guess this is great news for the reservations and online gambling. Last night I was talking to an operator in Deadwood and they were terrified of this passing the Senate today. I'm libertarian and believe the markets can decide this and several casinos already have non smoking sections and all have non smoking poker rooms. This will likely destroy the Deadwood industry as well as video lottery casinos at a time when things are already quite slow.

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The South Dakota Senate voted 21-14 Wednesday to extend a state smoking ban to bars, video lottery casinos and Deadwood gambling halls.

In doing so, the Senate might also have voted to worsen the state budget deficit by encouraging gamblers who like to smoke to take their business to Native American casinos and others where smoking is allowed, critics of the ban said.

"It was very disappointing," said Republican state Sen. Tom Nelson of Lead, who opposed the ban. "I thought we had a good argument, particularly in a year when we have these economic woes. We still have at least a $30 million budget gap to make up, and quite possibly, next year, we could have an additional $20 to $25 million in that gap."

Gambling industry lobbyists have argued the ban could cost the state $25 million to $30 million a year as play on video lottery is reduced. Nelson said there would be additional losses in Deadwood gambling.

Supporters argue that the health benefits of protecting the public and workers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke will pay for any losses over time. They also doubt the economic loss will be as severe as opponents of the ban predict.

"I don't think that number is accurate, especially when there's no place else they can go to smoke," Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City, said after the vote. "There could be some impact. But they are playing because they like to play, not because they like to smoke."

There had been some speculation in the Capitol that Gov. Mike Rounds might veto the bill because of its potential budget impacts. Video lottery is a crucial state funding source that provides more than $100 million a year. Rounds typically doesn't discuss vetoes in advance. And spokesman Joe Kafka said by e-mail Wednesday that the governor didn't have a comment on HB1240.

Round has spoken critically about the human damage done by smoking.

Nelson said he didn't have an opinion about a potential veto. Adelstein said he thought it was unlikely.

In approving HB1240, the Senate expanded an existing ban on smoking in public places to include bars and casinos, as well as restaurants with liquor licenses. Exceptions to the ban are motel rooms, cigar bars and smoke shops.

It took two hours of floor debate Wednesday and an amendment that reduces the legal penalty for violating the law to move the bill out of the Senate by a larger margin than some senators expected.

Sen. Frank Kloucek, D-Scotland, proposed the amendment, which would reduce the penalty from a Class 2 misdemeanor to a petty offense. It was an important change in shaping the final vote total, Nelson said.

"It took a lot of bite out of the penalty, but it's still a very enforceable law," he said. "That's why the margin became so much larger."

Because of the amendment, the South Dakota House must agree to the change. That chamber had already passed the bill last month with the higher penalty.

Adelstein said the $25 fine that goes with the petty offense could be multiplied by the number of people smoking in an establishment and charged to the owners.

"Truth be told, it could be a very serious penalty," he said. "If you find 30 smokers in a place, that's $25 times 30."

A Senate bill mandating a similar ban failed in that body last month on a 17-18 vote. But the House version added exceptions for motel rooms, cigar bars and smoke shops.

Supporter said those additions were key in winning more Senate support the second time through.

Adelstein said he thinks the bill is going to come out of conference committee, get the governor's approval and become law. And it will save South Dakota money over time, he said.

"In the long run, the state pays for every smoker," he said.

Sen. Gordon Howie, R-Rapid City, voted against the bill but said he understood the importance of the health arguments.

"There's a compelling health argument, so that carries a lot of weight," Howie said. "It comes right down to whether you decided this is an argument about health or about personal rights and responsibilities."

In the Senate on Wednesday, health won.
 

oldtrvlagt

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Joined
Mar 31, 2007
Location
Iowa
That stinks...I smoke..I admit it and I think they will find if they do this they'll learn (by losing $$$$) a lesson. We've been to Deadwood several times and did enjoy it. There is a casino in Bangor, Maine that opened a few months ago. They had a totally non-smoking policy. The first time we went there we went outside to smoke which is slightly annoying. A short time later they announced they were losing money and recinded the "no smoking" policy and seem to be doing much better:D
 

Mousey

Ueber Meister Mouse
Joined
Sep 12, 2004
Location
Up$hitCreek
With all these no-smoking bans, anyone tried the e-cigs or electronic cigs? I've got one and I'm not sure whether it's going to take the place of the old cancer sticks or not... For right now, it's sort of a back up for times I'm too long in smoke free areas. :p

If you use these, tho, be warned of hysterical non-smokers who STILL want you thrown out for 'smoking'.
 

oldtrvlagt

Dormant account
Joined
Mar 31, 2007
Location
Iowa
Hey Mousey..where do you get them? I love being in the smoking section (where I am supposed to be) and having someone start waving their arms at me...I tend to puff even more:D:D
 

Mousey

Ueber Meister Mouse
Joined
Sep 12, 2004
Location
Up$hitCreek
Hey Mousey..where do you get them? I love being in the smoking section (where I am supposed to be) and having someone start waving their arms at me...I tend to puff even more:D:D

Best place to start is Google. :D
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Read till your eyes bleed, then go to eBay .... LOL I think hubby bought mine there. But do your research first (they are quite pricey to get started -- but then, so is a carton of cigs), then decide what type, etc.
 

vinylweatherman

You type well loads
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Location
United Kingdom
I don't think that number is accurate, especially when there's no place else they can go to smoke," Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City, said after the vote. "There could be some impact. But they are playing because they like to play, not because they like to smoke.

North Dakota?
Reservations?

Here in the UK, the very same argument (almost) was used to calm fears that our pubs and bars would lose drinkers. One claim was that non-smokers would easily replace any smokers that were lost.

Now, a couple of years later, there are fears that the traditional pub (where smoking & drinking together was the norm) will be extinct in a few years more. Smokers are buying alcohol and drinking it where they can also smoke. For many, this is at home. The rules were said to be there to protect workers, but this failed to explain why the ban also made dedicated smoking rooms illegal, where there should be no need for workers to enter, and smokers could simply have been told that no service would be available there.

South Dakota casinos seem to have the same arrangement of smoking and non-smoking areas, and will suffer a similar problem.

Whilst those who want to smoke may go to North Dakota, or the reservations, it will STILL be their home state of SOUTH Dakota that picks up the tab for the smoking related ailments contracted whilst smoking in North Dakota's casinos, who will, along with North Dakota, reap the budgetary benefits.

In short, revenue income shifts to North Dakota (and the reservations), but the BILLS remain with South Dakota.

This senator understands the arguments about health & smoking, but seems to have litle grasp of how the state's finances are likely to be affected in the future.


PS - I thought this thread was going to be "South Dakota bans online gambling":D
 
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