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Legislation To Propose Smoking In Casinos

December 27, 2011, 10:02 PM by Derek Olson

Legislation To Propose Smoking In Casinos
DEADWOOD, SD - It's been more than a year since people have been able to smoke in Deadwood casinos. But if legislation proposed by State Senator Tom Nelson becomes law, that could change.

"Right now it's just in draft form, but it is a bill that would allow Deadwood casinos to have smoking again if they so choose," Sen. Tom Nelson said.

Since the smoking ban went into effect last November, Deadwood's gaming revenue has dropped. That's something Senator Nelson hopes his legislation will help correct.

"But on a whole, we're still down about six percent for the year, or about $6 million, which is about half a million dollars to the state. So, there are some real revenue numbers there, as well," Nelson said.

However, some believe that the drop in gaming revenue is a result of something other than the smoking ban.

"They keep saying that people aren't coming because of the non-smoking, but that's not true. It's the economy.  Nobody has got any money to spend," Deadwood visitor Richard Feiok said.

But Nelson says the tough economy is all the more reason to let Deadwood casinos decide whether to allow smoking.

"It will just give them a variety of options so that they can make a good business decision and hopefully get some of that market back," Nelson said.

"I like it the way it is. I can breathe and enjoy it," Feiok said.

Service clubs and veterans organizations that hold liquor licenses are also included in Nelson's draft. However, the details of the proposed legislation will likely change before the bill is introduced.

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