Quinn speaks out against smoking ban exemption for casinos

April 15, 2011

(AP/Seth Perlman)
Illinois lawmakers are considering exempting casinos from the state's smoking ban.
Illinios' governor says exempting casinos from the state's smoking ban would be a step backward.
 
A proposal in the General Assembly would allow smoking in riverboat casinos if the casinos in the state next door also allowed gamblers to light up.
 
But Governor Pat Quinn says he likes the law how it is now.

"It's an important public health law for patrons, as well as for the workers. Many workers who work at those casinos are exposed to second-hand smoke, and I don't think we should go backwards," Quinn said.

But Tom Swoik, with the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, said new, more powerful air filtration systems would allow gamblers - and workers - to breathe easy.
 
And he said Illinois casinos took a financial hit when the state-wide smoking ban went into effect in 2008.
 
"Our revenues dropped 20.9 percent," Swoik said. "So during that first year of the smoking ban, we believe ... the majority of the decrease in our revenues was because of the smoking ban."
 
The proposal has already cleared the state House, and is now in the Senate.