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Indian negotiations could make casinos smoke-free

Publication Date: 2005-04-19
  • Publication:Staten Island Advance
Limiting smoking in Indian-run casinos will be a part of Gov. George Pataki's renegotiations of pending land claim settlements with four tribes, a governor's spokesman said Monday.

Still, anti-smoking groups want the governor to go one step further and make sure the casinos abide by the 2003 state law banning smoking in longtime smoking refuges: bars and restaurants with seating for fewer than 50 patrons, Off-Track Betting parlors, bowling alleys, billiards parlors and company cars.

That law has not applied to the state's Indian-run casinos, since they were considered sovereign territory.

"We want to ensure all workers in New York state have equal protection from secondhand smoke," said Paul Andrew Hartman, director of advocacy for the American Heart Association. "Any employees who work at these venues are putting themselves at risk. And it's an unnecessary risk."

Pataki spokesman Todd Alhart said the administration is continuing to examine smoking in casinos.