Shreveport City Council shelves plan to exempt casinos from upcoming smoking ban

Shreveport City Council shelves plan to exempt casinos from upcoming smoking ban

The Shreveport City Council recently voted in favor of an amendment that would exempt casinos from the upcoming smoking ban, but then it shelved the plan for an indefinite period. The Smoke-Free Air Act (Ordinance No. 51), passed by the Shreveport City Council in the month of June last year, will ban smoking in bars, casinos, and other gaming facilities across the state. The ban was originally scheduled to take effect on 8th of August last year. However, it was delayed until August 1, 2021.

Supporting the argument that the smoking ban could adversely affect the revenues of the already struggling gaming facilities, Shreveport City Council member James Flurry introduced an amendment to exempt the gaming facilities from the ban.

The City Council discussed the matter for nearly four hours, and voted 4-3 in favor of the amendment to exempt casinos from the planned smoking ban. However, the council then decided to shelve the issue indefinitely. Now, the council is set to meet again on 28th of July.

The shelving of the plan to exempt casinos from the smoking ban means that the high-controversial activity of smoking in casinos will be banned in Shreveport starting 1st of August.

Seeking support for the smoking ban exemption for casinos, Flurry argued that a smoking ban at the city’s two riverboat casinos would drive customers across the Red River to Bossier City, simply because gambling halls in Bossier City don’t have any such restriction.

However, an anti-smoking association called Smoke-free Louisiana argued that city lawmakers are more interested in tax revenue from the gaming properties than in protecting the lives of casino workers.

When asked for a comment, Smoke-free Louisiana spokesperson Raegan Carter said, “It is insidious and insensitive. This is perpetuated by a multimillion-dollar industry that apparently cares more about draining money from its customers than protecting its own employees.”

Carter stressed that Park MGM, one of the most popular resorts in Las Vegas, is modernizing its marketing by opening declaring and announcing a ban on smoking throughout the property. The resort decided to implement the ban after receiving several requests from guests. Park MGM is situated on the west side of the Las Vegas Strip, close to T-Mobile Arena.

But, Flurry continues to insist that his plan to exempt casinos was intended to keep Shreveport casinos competitive with their neighboring gaming facilities on the east side of the Red River.