Economic Impact of Smokefree Gaming

  1. Around the U.S.

    Over 25% of people surveyed go to casinos for non-gaming activities. Read the May 9, 2012 article U.S. casinos slowly coming back from recession woes which discusses gaming revenue around the country. The smokefree gaming states Maryland, New York, Florida and Illinois all enjoyed increased revenue in 2011 compared to 2010.

    New New York's smokefree racino Resorts World at Aqueduct topped the nation's revenue for slots, generating $57.5 million during May. Read a June 21, 2012 Daily News article about the 8-month old casino which outperformed its Connecticut neighbors.

    Deadwood, South Dakota saw it's first revenue increase since the 2008 recession, with more than a 14 percent increase in gross revenues for 2011. South Dakota gaming floors went smokefree in November 2010. Read a February 2012 news article identifying the smokefree environment as a boost for 2011 revenues.

    A 2011 Indiana University study found that a 100% smokefree air law implemented in Fort Wayne, Indiana did not hurt off-track betting (OTB) in that community, and did not increase smoking-permitted OTB business in neighboring communities. Per capita gambling spending trends did not change for that town's county, nor for two neighboring counties' smoking-permitted OTB facilities. The researchers concluded that there is no economic reason for excluding OTBs from smokefree air laws. Indiana University's press release stated:
  2. The study, published online on March 22, 2011 by the journal Tobacco Control, compared per capita "handle," or the amount gamblers spent per number of people living in the county, for three Indiana OTBs from 2002 to 2009. The OTBs were located in Fort Wayne, which in 2007 implemented a smoke-free air law in all workplaces, including gambling facilities, and in Indianapolis and Merrillville, where smoking is permitted at the facilities.

    The study found that the per capita handle in all three facilities declined at a similar rate during this period, with unemployment rates proving to be a significant predictor of the per capita handle. As unemployment rates increased, per capita handle decreased. There was no change in the trend in per capita handle after the Fort Wayne location went smoke-free or in the two control locations that continued to allow smoking.

    The smokefree Illinois law, which included gaming venues, had a substantial positive effect on casino revenues according to statistical analysis done by the University of California, San Francisco May 5, 2010. According to the paper, "The law "arrested the decline that had started two years earlier. The smokefree casino law was associated with about a $130 million increase in revenues."

  3. Atlantic City, New Jersey casino revenue comparisons for smokefree month (Oct 15 - Nov 15, 2008).

    Table games and slot revenues dropped more in September and December when smoking was permitted, vs. October and November when smoking not permitted. Monthly revenue loss was less in October and November, than September and December, compared with monthly revenues from 2007. Click here to see the summary of 2008 monthly casino revenues, as reported by NJ Casino Control Commission.
  4. Conclusions and overviews of economic data by governments and governmental authorities

  5. Empirical studies

  6. Predictions, claims of negative economic impact, with fact-based responses

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Last update: 6/27/12