Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Smoking ban turns 1: What's changed? -

Smoking ban turns 1: What's changed? -
"Yet, one indication of how many people are going to bars — charitable gambling receipts — seems to back up the claim. They've plummeted more than 13 percent since the ban went into effect, according to the Minnesota Gambling Control Board. Church groups, fraternal orders and youth sports organizations once raked in $100 million to $120 million monthly from pull tabs and other bar games; they now are out millions of dollars every month.
But with a tanking economy, it's tough to blame the smoking ban for all the ills. The Gambling Control Board is undertaking a broad study looking at ways to increase charitable gaming revenues, which could include allowing new types of gaming in bars and restaurants.
'We're working with the industry ... and trying to find ways to help them,' Executive Director Tom Barrett said.
The ban was part of an anti-public smoking wave sweeping the country. Following Minnesota's law, the state of Iowa, the city of Fargo, N.D., and, most recently, Wisconsin's Dane County passed comprehensive public workplace smoking bans. Minnesota is one of 24 states that ban smoking in all public establishments.
Even some of the ban's most ardent opponents seem resigned to the fact the law is here to stay.
'I think that many of the owners have tried to move on and undo the damage that's been done,' said Kenn Rockler, executive director of the Tavern League of Minnesota. 'Not everyone was damaged.'"
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