Senator Rob Marionneaux has been the leading figure in the Louisiana legislature when it comes to ensuring the well-being of its residents. A few years ago, Marionneaux led the charge against smoking in public areas. The smoking ban passed, but casino facilities and bars were exempted from the bill.
Now, for the second time, Sen. Marionneaux is trying to remove those smoking ban exemptions. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee approved a bill on April 30th, 2010 that calls for the ban to take place indoors throughout Louisiana, including bars and casino facilities.
Although the Committee approved the bill, it still faces an uphill battle as it moves towards the Senate, and then possibly to the House. Legislators have considerable connections to the gambling industry and casino officials believe that a ban would affect the gaming revenue that the state receives.
Understanding that a complete smoking ban would be difficult to pass the state legislature, Marionneaux also proposed another bill that was approved by the Committee that would prohibit smoking in bars, but permitting smoking to continue in gaming facilities. The objective maybe to take one step at a time towards a complete smoking ban.
Casino employees and customers of the casinos have been successful in other states in the US when lobbying legislators to protect their health. Second-hand smoke is responsible for thousands of deaths every year and as the U.S. is becoming more health conscious, smoking bans become the norm.
The gambling industry in Louisiana is one of the top gaming markets in the U.S. A recent study by bizjournals showed that New Orleans to be number two gambling destination in the United States behind Las Vegas.
Louisiana has nicely recovered from the devastation that Hurricane Katrina inflicted and the casino gaming industry appears slowly getting back to their pre-Katrina and economic recession levels.
05/31/2010 13:37 PM