Illinois House Votes To Exempt Casinos From Smoking Ban

UPDATED 03/30/11 5:59 a.m.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Illinois lawmakers have begun moving forward with an effort to lift the state’s smoking ban at riverboat casinos located near other states without smoking bans.

Casinos have long said that the 2008 smoking ban has hurt business at Illinois riverboats, because Iowa, Indiana and Missouri casinos have no such bans.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports

Rep. Daniel Burke (D-Chicago) said Illinois casinos have lost $800 million since 2008 as a result of the smoking ban.

On Tuesday, the Illinois House voted 62-52 to amend the smoking ban to exempt Illinois riverboats if their closest neighboring state does not ban smoking at casinos.

Supporters of the smoking ban have said it’s unfair to subject gamblers and casino workers to dangerous second-hand smoke.

“When we first introduced this bill, it was all about people’s health, and I still say today, why are people who work in casinos’ lives any less important than anybody else’s?” state Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-Maywood) said.

But Burke said casinos have improved air filtration systems to reduce the health concerns from smoking.

Burke also says the bill provides for casinos to revert to nonsmoking if the ones across state lines do so first.

Burke’s proposal now goes to the Illinois Senate for consideration.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Lolly

    Let the businesses decide to allow smoking or not. We are talking about casinos and bars, not daycare centers. Most people who frequesnt these establishements smoke. People can go to a non-smoking casino if they want. What happened to freedom to CHOOSE?

    • woolfie

      WHAT……Freedom to chose to kill other people with second hand smoke, Lolly, you need to get your a$$ out of your head and smell the fresh air!

      • John

        What about all the places that already went OUT OF BUSINESS on the border areas in the last few years because of these nit wits in Springfield. My business dropped 25% in the last few years because of the smoking ban. I had no choice to resend the ban. You “GOOFS” made this puke sandwich, NOW EAT IT!

      • Lolly

        Obviously you did not read my entire post:

        “People can go to a non-smoking casino if they want.”

        If you go to a non-smoking casino you’ll be safe. Lets others make their choice also.

    • Roberta Waker

      What happened? CANCER happened to innocent people who don’t smoke. There are areas for smoking at ALL the casinos. One of the reasons we never went to casinos was the smoke – when you got home your clothes, skin and hair stunk from cigarettes. It’s been a pleasure to gamble and have a nice dinner without having to deal with smokers – guess we won’t be visiting any casinos again.

  • Richard

    Casinos should Not be exempt, they are NOT any better than any place else. Why can’t our elected officials do something constructive with their time, like maybe FIX our roads & bridges. These crooks must be getting another pay off from the lobbists.

  • Sandy Kazak

    Rep Burke you should be ashamed to link your name with this amendment to lift the smoking ban in casinos in Illinois!! I am not a happy camper regarding this esp since you actually believe that the air filtration has been improved esp regarding the second hand smoke to non smokers abd employees!!

  • Bormann

    What ever happened to our rights as Americans to smoke in general if we want. This is a waste of our time and tax dollars. Why don’t we start working on real
    issues that matter. I have an idea, lets ban all lobbyist from any government building and/or employees. Oh yeah, and lets start putting people in jail who are influenced by the lobbyist.

    • Roberta Waker

      Your suggestion isnt as dumb as you think. Lobbyists are influencing our governments way too much and they are responsible for a lot of problems in this country so they can make millions or billions of dollars. You still have a right to smoke; but not in my space to give me cancer. The casinos ALL have smoking areas so what is the problem???

      • Creature

        Your space???? Well what about My Space. Take a good look at the tax dollars cigarettes bring into this state and what this and other states receive from the tobacco industry.then look at the 1.5 billion dollars in bonds this State sold to be paid back by tobacco revenue. When you match the additional tax dollars I pay for construction of roads and schools because I smoke. Then let me know about who’s space is who’s

  • joe

    so if Indiana decides to jump off a bridge then Illiniois should follow…?

  • Jim

    what happened to the idea of a free market? It is the socialist who condemns the ability of supply and demand to settle these disputes and asks for a higher power to take away their freedom of choice. In a capitalist economy, if enough people desire a smoke free environment, some ambitious entrepreneur will fill that niche and capitalize on it. We’ve lost site of what our government is for, I would rather they not to take away our choice, but educate us on our options; its a more productive and value conscious approach. For reference see early 20th century US prohibition laws, or must we continue to make the same mistakes?

    • Roberta Waker

      Education on the dangers of smoking is not working. How many teenagers do you see every day that smoke illegally? How many people walking by you in a store, theatre, or shopping mall stink so bad from cigarette smoke that it gags you? As long as smoking is made to look glamorous, kids will continue to smoke and adults that are addicted stay addicted. As for non-smokers, it is a REAL pleasure to go out and enjoy a movie or dinner and not have to deal with the stench from smokers.

      • Creature

        Then ask the State where the millions upon millions of dollars they received from the tobacco industry….you remember the lawsuits right?…That were earmarked for the Education of the dangers of smoking.

  • Ding

    What a bunch of hypocrites. I’ll go to Indiana to gamble where I can smoke and not have smoke blown up my a$$.

  • jim

    oh yeah, roads and bridges? We’ve left that up to our government for years. When will we learn that the less we put our government in charge of, the better. We’re better off putting private industry on these tasks. Leave our politicians to encourage advancement through tax breaks and other incentives so that we won’t need roads or bridges anymore. We don’t need guys like Al Gore preaching to us about carbon footprints (does it really make sense to freak out about a colorless, odorless gas) when few things do more damage to an ecosystem than a road (see: the Amazon). We have the technology to make flying cars, except they’re not yet economical. These are the only types of economical issues which should give our government concern.

  • tom sharp

    This action may generate a few extra dollars,but at what cost. The legislators would be much better off rescinding their right to grant full scholarships to all their patronage friends’ kids, and cut their pension benefits. That’s big money there with no downside!

  • lou

    wow..these guys are complete idiots..and have no clue what the people want
    I’m anon smoker and don’t like smoke..but I do like to gamble..and I do go to Indiana
    because they allow more gambling station per casino..I have wrote the IL. gambling board about this..but it falls on deaf ears.. there is so much more freedom of choice as want you want to play when the casino has more gambling stations..HELLO!!!

  • Roberta Waker

    Why not have a SMOKE FREE floor and a SMOKING floor? If the ventilation is good enough, it should work for everyone. If not, just leave it alone as I don’t want cancer from someone I don’t know and I don’t want to have to shower and wash my clothes when I get home because I stink from cigarettes. By the way, don’t ALL the casinos have smoking areas? If so, what’s the problem?

    • Creature

      And as well they should.Now us smokers have paid enough money into this state through taxes and that got us SMOKE FREE rooms. Could you non smokers please throw in a few extra tax dollars so we can get the SMOKING rooms…Thanks will look forward to your help in this matter.

  • Tom Weiland

    So since you gamble with your money and the state gets a percentage it is now ok to gamble with your life and the state will pay your medical bills…. So I guess if I don’t pay my taxes the state will buy me a house….


  • Illinois House Votes To Exempt Casinos From Smoking Ban | Illinois online pharmacy

    […] Illinois House Votes To Exempt Casinos From Smoking BanIllinois lawmakers have begun moving forward with an effort to lift the state’s smoking ban at riverboat casinos located near other states without smoking bans. […]

  • Hal Nash

    Gee, I thought second hand smoke was so dangerous. I guess that’s only true when tax money isn’t involved,Go Liberals go ha Ha.

  • dennis

    these people in springfield really are a bunch!!!!(all included). they have no idea what side is up or down. absolutely no common sense or the ability to use logic. i started going to the casinos when the smoking ban was put into place.
    being a fomer smoker i felt that it was a great idea. it wasn’t that i lived just to gamble, but i did attend for the entertainment & dinner a couple of times a month or more when i could afford it. the casinos did provide smoking areas for those who smoked when the ban was put in place & it didn’t seem to bother the smokers. at this point if they insist on this i WILL no longer go to any casino.
    the real thinking behind this that they plan on putting an extra 1.00 tax on every pack of cigaretts & they are making plans for the money to start rolling. i ask who is going to pay $12 or more per pack. as far as i am concerned i win, they lose…………………………..

  • N1977

    Is it not obvious that the year the smoking ban was in effect was the same year the economy crashed? Housing prices took a nose dive is that because there is no smoking in the casinos or bars?????? I have worked in a casino for 11 years and love the non smoking enviroment. I have a co-worker who is going through treatment for lung cancer who never smoked a day in her life. I believe in the right to choose, the right to choose to kill YOURSELF not others, so take your butts outside to light up your cancer sticks.

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