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St. Louis Fed: No Ifs, Ands or Butts, Smoking Ban Hurt Revenues

By   /   July 23, 2010  /   4 Comments

Tom Garrett, a St. Louis Fed economist, says there’s no doubt that Illinois casinos lost revenue after the state implemented a smoking ban in 2008.

Kansas casinos are exempted from the smoking ban because casino proponents don’t want to experience revenue losses. Ban proponents say privately operated bars will not lose revenue due to the ban. Garrett says studies that show a positive impact of smoking bans on bar and restaurant revenue are not rigorous and their results are not convincing. The availability of specific data on casinosĀ  allowed a more detailed evaluation of the ban’s impact.

Why should people care? Casinos are promoted as a way to supplement state revenues but a $200 million loss in Illinois revenues isn’t a supplement. As revenues go down, Garrett warns, some casino employees will lose their jobs.

Garrett’s article is available in the July 2009 issue of the Regional Economist here.

Casino Revenue Growth

SOURCE: State gaming boards of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Missouri.

Casino Revenue Growth


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During his 28-year journalism career Soutar worked for the Associated Press, the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News and Knight Ridder Newspapers in Washington, D.C. From 1990 to 2008 he worked for the Wichita Eagle as a photo and graphics editor, producing special sections and writing stories on various subjects. He has received numerous international, national and regional journalism and design awards. Before his journalism career Soutar served in the U.S. Navy photographing and writing about events in the Western Pacific and Indian oceans.