INDIANAPOLIS – A House committee plans to exempt casinos from a bill imposing a statewide smoking ban after an analyst said the state could lose nearly $200 million annually if customers can’t smoke at gambling venues. The Health Committee took more than two hours of testimony on House Bill 1018 and then delayed a vote to next week. But Chairman Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, said the bill won’t move forward unless the casino exemption is added.

To those of us fighting the ban this is not news. The economic damage has been well known, well at least to those who have paid attention. What was SmokeFree’s response?

Danielle Patterson, chairwoman of the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air, called Landers’ analysis “skewed” and asked lawmakers if they could have a fiscal impact statement prepared by someone less biased.

Even though right from the article “Jim Landers, an analyst with the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency, said studies from Delaware and Illinois show that smoking bans in those states cut casino admissions by 10 percent and wagering by 20 percent.”

I am quite sure that MZ Patterson would prefer one like the Klien study done by anti-smoking activist.

The passage of smoking bans in two large Minnesota cities was not associated with job losses at bars and may in fact have contributed to higher employment in restaurants, according to new research.
The study is the first to examine the economic effects of clean indoor air policies on bars and restaurants as independent types of businesses, the researchers said. Consistent with previous published studies of the economic impact of smoking bans, this analysis did not find significant economic effects on the hospitality industry as a whole.

The Problem with the Klein study and all of the economic impact studies is that it lumps the businesses that are impacted (bars and mom and pop restaurants) in with nationwide chains like McDonalds, Burger King,KFC,Wendys, etc etc etc all of which have not allowed smoking for decades.

Michael J McFadden commented on a blog entry on this study.

The authors of this study had two separate sets of NAICS employment data: Data for bars, AND data for full-service-restaurants. They deliberately chose NOT to publish any analysis on what happened to bar employment.

Some might conclude that they simply withheld such results because it would have damaged the political cause the researchers and their antismoking funders, ClearWay Minnesota, intended to support. There’s an obvious motivation to have performed such a separate analysis since the results, if they went the “right” way, would have made the study’s conclusion FAR more powerful!

Which prompted the blogger to do a followup. Anyone knowledgeable about charitable gambling in Minnesota knows that the vast majority takes place in Minnesota’s bars. This is important to note because Minnesota actually did a study on the impact of the smoking ban on charitable gambling.

Graph taken by study done by the state of Minnesota.

Update 3/30/11

This is a breakdown of the impact done by Micheal J McFadden using the data through 2008.

So when one looks at the impact studies one must closely look at the motivations of those doing the studies or funding them.  Of course all of them done by anti-smoking groups will show no impact, they would not publish a negative study.

While I am sure that the smoking patrons of the Casinos will love the exemptions, what about all of those small mom and pop bars and restaurants that would take the brunt of the economic impact. These Smoke Free orgs have big war-chests and they will negotiate exceptions knowing full well that they will revisit the issue later. But who is looking out for the small business owner? We have seen articles from Michigan and Wisconsin showing the harm done