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Smoking in Iowa Casinos Could End

Publication Date: 2011-02-24
  • Author:Shane Delaney
  • Publication:KIMT

It started with bars and restaurants, and now there's talk about banning smoking in casinos.

A new survey shows a majority of Iowans would approve a statewide ban of smoking in non-tribal casinos like Diamond Jo in Worth County, but casino leaders say it would hurt business.

Des Moines pollster Selzer and Company questioned 500 registered Iowa voters earlier this month about smoking in casinos. More than 60 percent of them favored banning the product in the gambling establishments.

Casinos say they'd lose revenue if smoking was outlawed, and that would affect the charitable organizations the casino's support.

"The majority of people in the casinos are non-smokers," said Teresa Symons, Cerro Gordo Public Health.

Symons says the most recent health figures show only about 14 percent of Iowans smoke. She says it makes sense to extend the Iowa Smoke-Free Air Act to casinos.

"I really don't think that the casinos will see a real economic impact from these folks not smoking," said Symons.

Symons says when the law first went into effect bars and restaurants thought their business would suffer, but she says that's not the case.

"Most of our bars and restaurants have actually had the opposite happen people are really appreciative of having a smoke free environment," said Symons..