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Casinos in Illinois want exempt from the smoke ban

A recent bill passed by the Illinois legislation would stop smoking at the casinos and other public indoor places.

Casinos in Illinois want exempt from the smoke banBefore the bill has even been signed by the Gov. Ron Blagojevich, who said that he will sign the bill, some lawmakers and casino representatives want to roll back parts of it. The bill, passed earlier this week, in its essence would ban smoking in all indoor public places, such as casinos, restaurants and bars throughout Illinois. However, it met a strong opposition from the casinos in the state, as well as some lawmakers.

The main concern raised by the Illinois casino representatives was that many of the gamblers in the state are actually smokers, and the casinos and the state would loose millions of dollars, when those gamblers choose to go at the neighboring states with legal gambling.

Some lawmakers also support the casinos on this issue, such as Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline), who fears that prohibiting gamblers from smoking on Illinois casino boats will just drive them across the Mississippi River to Iowa's casinos, costing the state needed revenue.

Rep. Patrick Verschoore (D-Milan) supports the casino exemption, and would like to even go further and permit smoking at other indoor places, urged by email he received complaining about the smoking ban. Mr. Verschoore admits it's a long shot, yet something that should be attempted.

The smoking ban is expected to cut at least 20% of the casinos' revenues, and would cost Illinois as much as $60 million each year just from cigarette tax revenue.


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