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Missouri Casinos No Longer Feeling Effects Of Smoking Ban

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As is the case anytime a smoking ban goes into effect in a state, casino owners are quick to point out the effect it will have on their revenue. In Missouri, the casinos used the smoking ban to explain the over twenty percent dropoff in revenue figures from the first quarter of 2007 to the same period of 2008.

Now, another year removed from that smoking ban, casinos are starting to realize that it may have been the economy, and not the smoking ban, that caused revenue to drop drastically in the start of last year.

Revenue figures were released by the American Gaming Association and for the first quarter of this year, revenue dropped 9.3% from last year at the same time. Although the drop was still the third worst of any state in the US, it was nowhere near what it was in 2008. The smoking ban, once a hot topic, is not much of an issue anymore.

"We believe the majority of the decline now is the result of the economy," said Thomas Swoik, Executive Director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association. The link to smoking and revenue decline now must be pointed in the direction of the economy.

When smoking bans are put in place to protect both customers and employees of casinos, the proponents of the ban point to the fact that once people get used to the non-smoking casinos, there is rarely a problem. That seems to be the case in Missouri.

Gamblers have "become accustomed to the fact you can't smoke there," said Senator Terry Link, "and if you do smoke, they have to go to the smoking tents or whatever they have set up. People are getting used to it."

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