STATE FLAME-OUT: N.C., Louisiana, Michigan move forward on smoking bans
Three smoking-ban initiatives, each at different stages, are moving through legislative channels in three U.S. states, but only one proposal has the potential to impact gaming venues.
One of two newly introduced bills looking to expand the ban on smoking in Louisiana includes a possible future of smokeless casinos and riverboats. According to a report in The Times-Picayune, Rep. Gary Smith has filed House Bill 844 to ban smoking in "any restaurant or bar." While Sen. Rob Marionneaux has filed Senate Bill 186 to prohibit smoking "in any restaurant or bar if food is served at any time.” Smith’s proposal doesn’t include casinos or gambling riverboats because it would put the gambling outlets in the state at "a competitive disadvantage with Mississippi's" gambling industry, according to the report. Marionneaux did not rule out an attempt to ban smoking in casinos or riverboats.
Three years ago Louisiana adopted banned smoking in restaurants, office buildings and other public places but granted exceptions to bars, gambling boats and casinos. Each bill will move to the House and Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, respectively.
Meanwhile, a partial smoking ban in Michigan that includes restaurants, bars and other work sites, but not Detroit's casinos, passed a House committee vote.
According to a Detroit Free Press article, a full House vote could occur within two weeks. A smoking-ban proposal flamed out last year because the House and Senate could not agree on whether to exempt Detroit's casinos.
Earlier this week, North Carolina signed a statewide indoor smoking ban into law. The law bans smoking in restaurants and bars, with the exception of private clubs and cigar bars.