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Casinos: The last frontier for smoking?

Publication Date: 3/27/2007
  • Author:Mark Brunswick
  • Publication:Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune

If Minnesota adopts a statewide smoking ban, Indian-run casinos would be exempt, raising the complicated issue of sovereignty.

Minnesota stands poised to enact a statewide smoking ban that would prohibit smoking in bars and restaurants across the state. So far, attempts to mediate the impact of the ban by exempting such places as American Legion and VFW halls have fallen short. Gov. Tim Pawlenty has pledged to sign the bill.

If the measure is enacted, the few places that smoking would be permitted would be the state's 18 Indian casinos, which would not be covered by the law.

The debate over a statewide smoking ban is reaching a potential denouement at the Capitol, with a Senate vote possibly as early as this week. As the debate has continued, never far beneath the surface is the issue of the casinos, the Indians and tribal sovereignty.