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Iowa Lawmakers May End Casino Smoking Ban Hypocrisy

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Casino workers have long been given the short end of the stick when it comes to smoking bans across the US. Dozens of states have created laws that protect workers against the dangers of secondhand smoke, but in most cases, they have excluded casinos from the ban.

Iowa was one of those states back in 2008. A smoking ban was created, but casinos were exempt. That has had employees upset, and legislators are only now getting around to fixing that mistake. Two new bills are on the table in Iowa that would take casinos off the smoking ban exemption list.

Anti-tobacco groups have been lobbying heavily for the casinos to be placed on equal ground as other Iowa businesses. The revenue generated by casinos has always been a determining factor in leaving the gaming establishments out of the smoking bans, but lately states have started to reconsider.

In New Jersey, Atlantic City created a smoking ban law, and then gave casinos an exemption when the economic recession hit the US. The casinos argued that the smoking ban would kill business. In the time since they have become exempt from the ban, the casinos have seen their revenue plummet.

Casinos in other states have also attempted to threaten lawmakers with the idea that a smoking ban would be counterproductive. The casinos argued that the states would lose millions in tax revenue, and legislators bowed to the pressure put on by the casinos.

With gaming becoming more prevalent, however, in the past few years, lawmakers cannot keep setting the precedent that casinos should be exempt from laws other businesses have to follow.

The two bills in Iowa are currently tied up in subcommittees, but lawmakers know they must move quickly to have the legislation passed this session. Friday is the deadline lawmakers have set for any bills to move out of committee.

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