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Proposed Smoking Ban In Iowa Casinos

February 12, 2013, 9:47 PM by Stephanie Gregory

Proposed Smoking Ban In Iowa Casinos

A smoking ban proposal in the Iowa legislature could be bad business for casinos.

Managers for Grand Falls Casino near Larchwood, Iowa, say this isn't the first time lawmakers have talked about banning smoking. If such a measure were to pass, business at Grand Falls would likely drop. 

"Most estimates show that that effect would be about 20 percent of your revenue. That would be a huge factor for a place like Grand Falls Casino Resort and huge for the state of Iowa," General Manager of Grand Falls Casino Sharon Haselhoff said.

However, people at Grand Falls Casino have different views on the proposal.

"I like it.  I play in the poker room and no one can smoke in there so it's really kind of nice," Lori Johnson, who doesn't smoke, said.

"Going outside in freezing cold weather.  In rain; in snow.  It's not something that I enjoy doing.  In fact, I avoid a lot of the places in Sioux Falls where I can't smoke," Cindy Hoff, who does smoke, said.

Grand Falls Casino says they have been proactive in meeting the needs of both sides of the debate by installing a state of the art ventilation system and making a smoking and non-smoking side to the casino.

"We feel that folks who are over the age of 21 should be able to make the decisions that they want to make, whether that is smoking or not smoking," Haselhoff said.

Lawmakers who support this bill say the smoking ban would be a public health benefit, and opponents say it would affect revenues in the state of Iowa. The proposed bill has been introduced in subcommittee where it is still currently.

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