Smoking ban rejected in Baton Rouge

Smoking ban rejected in Baton RougeSmoking will continue in Baton Rouge casinos. A proposal to ban smoking in bars and casinos has fallen one vote short of approval.

Members of the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council debated the proposed ordinance for more than two hours Wednesday before a tie vote extinguished the measure.

None of the six council members who voted against the ordinance offered an explanation for their votes. The proposal’s six sponsors voted in favor.

Casino executives warned of a likely 20 percent drop in revenue if the ordinance passed. Employees of L’Auberge Casino and Hotel spoke out against the proposal, saying they were more concerned about lost revenue than having smoke in their workplace.

A coalition of doctors, public health officials and bar owners urged council members to support the measure.

Casino officials had previously argued  that a ban on smoking would send casino customers who appreciate the chance to light up to casinos elsewhere. That’s what happened when New Orleans approved a smoking ban that caused an immediate dip in revenues at the large land-based Harrah’s casino at the edge of the French Quarter. 

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: .

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