Smoking Ban To Come Up this Week

16 03 2009

I was pointed toward an article in the Grand Rapids Press about the smoking ban.  The article focused on the new faces from West Michigan and what their opinions on a ban are.  The important information from the article is that the ban is expected to be brought up in committee on Wednesday.

This paragraph still bothers me.

Detroit casino operations have said they need the ban to be able to compete with Indian casinos that allow smoking. Specialty tobacco shops and cigar bars say the ban would put them out of business.

I agree with tobacco shops and cigar bars.  If anyone is to be exempted it should be then.  I’m not in favor of a casino exemption.  It’s my understanding Detroit was licensed for casinos AFTER the casino in Windsor was proposed.  By that logic, Windsor would be the competition for the Detroit casinos, not the Indian casinos.  Windsor is smoke free.  If the Detroit casinos, which were built in response to the Windsor casino, not the Indian casinos, ban smoking, all it would do is put them back on a level playing field with Windsor.   I would have to think that a majority of Detroit’s clientele comes from the Detroit metro area…I have no factual basis for that assumption, so I could be totally wrong.

In the comments section of that article, there was actually a somewhat plausible idea.  I still don’t like it, but would be more in favor it.

How about licensing smoking areas?? The exact same thing as a liquor license, except forbidding minors on the premises of a smoking establishment?

That would still take smoking out of most restaurants.  It wouldn’t work for all places because I know there’d still be some places that would willing to give up what little family business they do. 

Anyway, stay tuned.  I’ll try to keep an eye on things this week and see what gets kicked out of committee if anything at all.

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3 responses

16 03 2009
Mike

It’s expected that no voting will take place Wednesday. In fact, none of the House smoking ban bills are officially in front of the committee. It’s just the issue itself under discussion.

The committee chairman, who by the way, is a Detroit Democrat and the most vocal casino/cigar bar exemption proponent last time, has said he expects several hearings before anything may be voted on.

I would be shocked if a bill emerges without some consideration for Detroit’s 3 casinos — an exemption or a long phase-in.

You’re probably right on the Detroit casinos’ patrons, but the fact is people do drive from all over to go to casinos. There are billboards for Soaring Eagle on I-75 in Detroit. My parents, who live much closer to Detroit (and don’t smoke), much preferred Soaring Eagle. Casinos are destinations.

And since Casino Windsor lost money and patrons after the province banned smoking (laying off 300 4 months later) in 2006, that’s not an advantage Detroit wants to give up.

The 15%-25% predicted revenue loss is based on other states as well as Ontario. And smoking bans did not boost revenue in Illinois or Colorado, which is what Detroit casinos keep pointing out.

And like I said before, the Detroit casinos don’t like that they pay a 25% tax and Indian casinos pay 8% or less — and they’re the ones that might have to ban smoking.

Depending on how you interpret them, the Michigan ban bills may even ban smoking in private hotel rooms. No state bans smoking in all hotel rooms — even Illinois. So patrons would have to go outside even if they were guests of the casinos hotels.

16 03 2009
Mid-Michigan Dining

I know this is kind of snarky and borderline asshole-ish, but according to politicians in Detroit, residents of the city can’t drive to Auburn Hills to see a free concert…so with that logic, they can’t drive to Mt. Pleasant to gamble.

16 03 2009
Mike

Touche!

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