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While the editorial "Don't gamble on health with exceptions for casinos" (OurViews, June 7) is an altruistic picture of the effect of the smoking ban on casinos, many factors were not considered that could potentially cripple Illinois casinos.

Illinois gaming requires a "per head" charge on each patron entering the casino. Nearly all Illinois casinos either have little or no access to the outdoors. Thus, the smoking ban would require either corporations to invest more money in creating outdoor smoking sections or patrons to leave the premises to smoke.

Coupled with stiff taxation of casino revenues, this could potentially lead to the return of an admissions charge.

Further, as a non-smoker, I base my casino play on a number of factors, none of which has to do with air quality.

I understand that casino employees are at risk, but they choose to be in an industry where smoking is a norm.

Additionally, most casino employees would state that the smoking ban would lower tipping, as patrons would not be sitting at the tables, slots or video machines as long.

Finally, all but two of the casinos in Illinois - Par-a-Dice in East Peoria and Harrah's Metropolis - face formidable competition from states that are not considering such a proposal.

Casino patrons are more likely to travel to Indiana, Iowa, Missouri or even farther to get more "bang for their buck," especially if they can't smoke in their own state. This will significantly lower the amount of tax dollars generated by casinos, and Illinois will face an even larger burden.

Rep. Bill Brady certainly took these factors into consideration when he wisely voted in support of the amendment. Hopefully, our lawmakers will make this realization before Illinois gaming is crippled beyond repair.

Jeremy Gray



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