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Minnesota Hurt By Smoking Ban. 2005-09-29
While some believe that smoking, and gambling goes hand in hand, well here it is true. In less than six months after smoking was banned in Bloomington, Minnesota bars, where South Town Bingo was closed for good. They blame it all on the fact their clients were prevented from smoking during play.
Business started to fall around the time the smoking ban took effect. Jim Algeo, president of the crime prevention association that ran the bingo estimated that about 70% of the bingo players smoked. Then after the ban, they just stayed away. They couldnít enjoy play without that smoke.
Algeo told the House State Government Finance Committee; along with other backers of charitable gambling that smoking ban has hurt them as well. It hasnít shown effects like closing down, but soon enough it may. These business are also bingos, but in Heenpin and Ramsey counties.
The state didnít intentionally make a smoking ban to stop gambling, but the most obvious to help improve life standards, and health. They also admit that gambling has been down for years, six months of a smoking ban didnít change that. The companies in the business feel different.
Charitable gambling sales dropped nearly 22% in the first three months after Hennepin County after the ban was put into play said Tom Barrett, Director of the Minnesota Gambling Control Board. The decline was 10% in Ramsey County, since some bars still allow smoking. However sales were up almost 5% in Anoka County, which allows smoking. Business increased in Dakota, Sherburne and Wright counties, since smoking bans donít exist there.
Charitable gambling is a $1.4 billion-a-year industry in Minnesota. In South Town Bingo's case, about $125,000 went annually to crime prevention, school crossing guards and a youth center. Some places didnít need to enact this law because establishments that sell more liquor than food can get exemptions. In other cases it holds water.
(By Andrea)