Smoking ban eyed for two successful casinos

Mar 18, 2008 6:00 PM

by Ray Poirier | Lawmakers in Connecticut have been given the go ahead to impose a smoking ban on two of the world’s most financially successful casinos: Foxwoods Resorts and Mohegan Sun.

Atty. Gen. Richard Blumenthal issued a formal legal opinion in which he said the gaming compact between the state and the tribes requires health and safety conditions in casinos to be no less rigorous than state standards.

So, he said, in effect, that if the legislature wanted to ban smoking in private clubs and casinos, just as it has in bars and restaurants, it has the legal right to do so. Tribal sovereignty "would almost be beside the point" because casinos are used by the public, Blumenthal said.

However, in order to avoid a costly lawsuit, he advised that the state and the two tribes involved negotiate an agreement.

Illinois just announced that since it imposed a smoking ban on its casinos revenues had fallen by almost 13%.

THE INSIDER: Scientific Games Corp. (SGMS) announced it had signed four new contracts with customers in Germany and Finland.

Teachers in Maryland say they will support a November referendum to allow slot machine gambling in that state.

The Florida Senate has passed a bill that will ease the tax burden on pari-mutuel facilities that operate video slot machines.

Meanwhile, the Seminole Tribe says it has openings for 3,650 dealers for blackjack, baccarat, and pai gow. It will introduce those table games to its seven casinos in June.

The "financial disarray" of Magna Entertainment Corp. (MECA) could become a factor if Maryland voters approve slots at racetracks in November, said the chairman of the state racing commission. The company’s shares are trading at the $0.35 per share level.