Lung Association: Illinoisans Don’t Want Smoking In Casinos

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — The American Lung Association is touting a new poll which shows most Illinoisans who gamble would rather do it in a smoke-free environment.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports, the group is trying to dispel a connection between the state’s indoor smoking ban and a drop in business and casinos.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports

Researcher Clyde Barrow says the poll results show there is competition that has driven people away from casinos.

“Among the reported casino gamblers, 14 percent of them said that they had played video poker or slot machines at a local club, and those occurrences, we think, have likely cannibalized slot machines at the riverboat casinos,” Barrow said.

Illinois Casino Gaming Association director Tom Swoik sees a big problem with the video poker and slot machines at the “local clubs” Barrow mentioned.

“Those are against the law in Illinois. They’re not supposed to be paying out,” Swoik said. “If those people are doing that, they’re breaking the law.”

Swoik says the smoking ban is to blame for about 75 percent of the revenue losses at casinos in 2008, when the ban started.

“Since then, we have not made up that, and we have lost additional funds because of the economy,” Swoik said.

State Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan) does not agree with Swoik’s claims.

“I just want to quote a great philosopher, James Carville – ‘It’s the economy, stupid,’” Link said.

The Illinois House of Representatives have already approved a bill that would amend the smoking ban to exempt Illinois riverboats if their closest neighboring state does not ban smoking at casinos.

  • Tom

    I sure would like to know who runs these surveys and to whom they adminster the surveys too? As a frequent casino visitor I have never been asked to take any survey about this subject. It is time for the elected officials to take care of business of the state and let the american people chose what they want to do. If people don’t want a smoke filled room then they too have the right to go somewhere else or stay home. Smokers are one of the most discriminated group of people in our country today. Let’s practice freedom of choice and let the people decide their choice by either visiting the casinos or staying home. Hey senator Link, go visit a casino in Indiana and ask them where they are from and why they are playing there instead of Illinois. Funny how the economy has not hurt those casinos like they have here in Illinois. Maybe Senator Link’s quote could apply to his thoughts too. Here is my survey answer, Illinois politicans, stay out of my life and let me make my own choice. I don’t need any of you to tell me what to do.

    • John

      I feel bad for you that you never received a call from a polster. I grew up when smoking was everywhere. No-one felt sorry for us but now we have to feel sorry for smokers for being discriminated upon? I think not. If we don’t like the smoke stay home!???!!! What kind of reply! is that?

      • Rick

        It’s called freedom of choice. If you don’t like it, stay home. It makes sense to me.

  • Jim

    Just make the casino’s have great ventilation in the smoking area’s and designate at least 50% of the casino as “smoke free”. In my opinion this would satisfy everyone. It’s how it’s done elsewhere, and as a non-smoker I am fine with that process and I’m sure most others would be also.

    • John

      I too, am a non-smoker. But I have never been to an establishment where smoke stays on one side of the aisle. It goes everywhere.

  • GiveMeLiberty

    As a 25 plus year smoker who quit over 3 1/2 years ago, I have no problem with casino’s or bars for that matter, to allow their patrons to smoke if they should choose to allow it. This smoking ban on all businesses is another Dudley Doorighter’s way of stripping individual liberties, and tramples on the rights of the owners of these businesses.

    Patrons who choose to seek out smoke-free environments are welcome to do so, and should a business owner decide that smoking should be allowed, the owner should realize that he may lose some customers over his decision. The decision should be left to the business owner and not the state.

    Beware the Nanny State!

  • John

    You don’t state your position as a 3 1/2 yr nonsmoking person. Whether you would go to a smoke-filled casino. As far as decisions being left to the business owner and not the state, please tell me who okd the return to smoke filled casinos, business or state! But when smoking was banned, oh yeah, get out of my life government!!!

    • GiveMeLiberty

      I spent a week in Vegas at the Flamingo in November, if that is what you are asking. The state overstepped their bounds when they enacted the smoking ban in the first place.

  • Tom

    John, I am willing to bet you that no one asked businesses if they wanted this law imposed on them. The pressure to take this action came from lobbyist like those from the Lung association who made large contributions to those elected officials. Check out the stats on how much money the people who sponsored the original bill received from the Lung association. stuff like this should be placed on a ballot for the people of the state to vote on and not some politcian that is getting their check books enlarged from the lobbyist. How many times have you been asked to take surveys like what is presented here? How many times has your elected officials contacted you asking for your input on proposed bills? Freedom of choice is a god given right and not something that I am willing to give up.

  • Roberta Waker

    We rarely went to casinos because of the smoke; when we got home we had to shower and wash our clothes to remove the stench because cigarette smokers don’t realize how they smell to nonsmokers. It’s nice to gamble now that there is no smoking IN the casinos; yet there are designated areas for smokers. It would be a good compromise to have the top floor for smokers since smoke goes up and the lower level for non-smokers if the casinos have more than one story, but if they don’t we will have to live with the current laws.

  • Beth

    I’m a pack a day ex-smoker and was told something years ago that has always stayed in my mind~”People choose to smoke, not breathe.” Remember that when you talk about human rights.

    • GiveMeLiberty

      This is more about the rights of business owners being stripped and the fact that a non-smoker has a right to not visit an establishment that allows smoking.

      Imposing a smoking ban on private business is no better than imposing a smoking ban on an individual homeowner.

      Let your pocketbooks do the talking, by taking your business elsewhere if you should disagree with a private businesses policies, as that is your right.

  • Curious

    You people who are commenting about non smokers staying home and having the right not to visit an establishment aren’t making any sense. You seek to do the same thing that you complain that gov’t has done take away someone’s rights. Like the right of all of us non smokers to breather clean air, not smell like an ash tray, and the most important live longer lives without increasing our risk of lung cancer due to second hand smoke. By the same premise you smokers can stay home or choose not to patronage non smokinging establishments. As a smoker you can always step outside and have a cigarette when you feel the need which doesn’t effect your quality of life what so ever, however the same can’t be said about the rest of us who are forced to inhale your choice for your life. Who’s really taking away someone’s rights in this scenario?

    • GiveMeLiberty

      You are right Curious in that those who smoke can also stay home, however there are no longer ANY establishments that can legally allow smoking. Do you get it? The owners have lost their right to decide whether or not they want to allow smoking in their PRIVATELY OWNED ESTABLISHMENT!

  • yeaok

    After the smokers were going after the gamblers next. Gamblers disgust me.Broke all the time. Always borrowing money.Tearing families apart.Your turn is coming and i cant wait.(sarcasm). Dont you people realize YOUR NEXT!!! Leave people alone.

    • GiveMeLiberty

      You pretty much nailed it there.

  • yeaok

    GML, give it up. Youll never convince some folks. Like i said their turn is coming and man are they gonna squeel. You cant do that to me, This is America and i have rights. No you dont, you gave them all away because it made your clothes stink.

    • GiveMeLiberty

      Oh well, and as they hop in their gas guzzling SUV’s, chatting on their Iphones, all the while failing to realize that nearly everything they own or use is comprised of petroleum products or loaded with lead, that they believe they will be saved by their Guvment. Perhaps a ride back to the stone age is in order.

      • GiveMeLiberty

        We will see how long their life spans are then! LOL

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