A 20 PER CENT plunge in casino profits is being blamed on an 11-month-old smoking ban.
In fact the fall in takings is ALMOST EXACTLY the 19 per cent figure predicted by the chief of the Illinois casino Gaming Association, Tom Swoik, when the ban was first debated in 2007.
Quoted on the website chicagoist.com, Swoik pointed to the “high correlation” between smokers and gambling.
“Although the number of people coming to the casinos is about the same, the time they spend inside is down,” he said.
“They’re outside smoking. And in this business, if you’re not putting money in the machine or on the table –- time is money.”
As Illinois’ casinos continue to struggle, those in neighbouring Indiana have seen revenues drop only 0.75 per cent, accordin to American Gaming Association figures.
Swoik commeted: “They have basically the same economy, the same weather [as Illinois]. The only DIFFERENCE is the smoking ban.”
Gambling industry chiefs plan to lobby for an exemption that would allow smokers to puff away at Illinois tables again, according to Swoik.