The smoking ban passed by the Michigan Senate on Thursday now heads to the House and likely a signature by the Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who backs the smoking prohibition. Unlike the bill passed by the House initially, the Senate is also banning smoking at the casinos in Michigan, which in fact would affect only the three Detroit casinos, as the remaining 18 Indian casinos would not be affected by the legislation, because they are on tribal lands.
"We're not in favor of the smoking ban. We are very concerned it will create an unleveled playing field in regard to the tribal casinos," MotorCity Casino spokeswoman Jacci Woods was quoted.
The Michigan bill that passed the House five months ago would have exempted casinos, bingo halls, horse tracks, cigar bars and smoke shops from the ban, but the Senate stripped those provisions in favor of banning smoking in all workplaces. The House could send the bill as early as next week to the Governor.
The casino smoking ban in Michigan would certainly affect the bottom line of the three Detroit casinos, as gamblers would hardly go outside to smoke, especially during the harsh Michigan winters.
Similar ban already in effect at the 11 Atlantic City casinos is blamed for the ever declining gambling profits in New Jersey, as gamblers take the short drive to neighboring states' casinos which allow smoking on the gaming floors.
The closest casino outside of Detroit is the Canadian Casino Windsor, which also prohibits smoking, thus gamblers would have to either drive 150 miles to the Mount Pleasant's Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort or decide to gamble online from their homes, where smoking has not been regulated...yet.