This week the Atlantic City Council voted unanimously to ban smoking on casino floors. Although the rationale is employee protection, casinos that elect to build separately ventilated smoking lounges, as permitted by the ordinance, have to make sure no gambling occurs there, even the automated kind. Urging the Casino Association of New Jersey to file a lawsuit challenging the ban, Donald Trump complains that it gives slot parlors in the Philadelphia area an unfair competitive advantage.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported yesterday that charitable groups in states such as California, New York, New Jersey, Washington, and Minnesota have seen a sharp drop in bingo attendance and revenue in the wake of smoking bans:
Managers of charity bingo games…say smoking goes with bingo like peanut butter with jelly. Michael J. Surwill, bingo chairman at Elks Lodge No. 2501 in Ocean Springs, Miss., estimated that smokers outnumbered nonsmokers three to one at the lodge's weekly game….
Charlie Lindstrom, who runs the bingo nights at an American Legion post in Fergus Falls, Minn., said some of his former customers now drove to casinos on Indian reservations, where they can puff away, or across the border to Fargo, N.D., where veterans' organizations are exempt from that state's smoking ban.
One possible solution: allow smoking among consenting adults. Another one: impose a nationwide smoking ban, which would also take care of the accidents caused by drunken smokers looking for bars where they can light up. Which do you think is more likely?