Letter to the Editor from a Potential Tourist from Indianapolis Regarding Public Smoking


January 25, 2012

Dear editor:

I’m writing today to express my support of a comprehensive smoke-free air policy. From the news coverage reaching Indianapolis, it appears the casino lobbyists have done a solid job in preying on fears of loss revenue if the casino is not exempted from the proposed policy to cover all workplaces within the city.

I don’t doubt that the issue of smoke-free air is divisive and councilors are likely hearing stories from both sides of the aisle. Yet councilors should remain committed to doing what’s best for residents, workers and visitors by protecting their health and passing a smoke-free air policy without any exemptions.

I, for one, am someone who would gladly travel to our state’s first smoke-free casino. My husband and I do not currently visit any casino because of the large amount of smoke. However, I think it’d be a fun evening and would love the opportunity to make a weekend visit in Evansville were it to include casinos in its policy. Imagine the benefits of others who would travel into the county for smoke-free gaming, and then stay to take advantage of local hotels, restaurants, etc.

The issue of smoke-free air in the workplace is, and needs to remain, a public health issue. Yes, business revenue, productivity, economic development, tourism, and a whole host of other issues are impacted by a smoke-free air policy but those issues should not trump protecting the health of all.

Please, Councilors, be leaders for the state and show elected officials in other communities that protecting public health through a comprehensive smoke-free air policy can be done, and should be done now.

Jill Richardson


  1. Jill,

    That is very nice that you would travel down to Evansville to visit the caisno, but I do not believe that your loss of a couple hundred bucks will make up for the millions in revenue the casino will lose. Evansville is very close to Metropolis IL(non smoking)people choose to come to Evansville so that they can smoke.

  2. Nice letter. I’m sure Casino Aztar or any of the numerous smoking casinos in your area would appreciate the visit. I’m also sure that any of the smoke free Casinos in Illinois that are down over 30% since their states ban would also appreciate your visit or the visit of all of the individuals that say the same. It is just an industry fact that many nonsmokers do not gamble the same as smokers. Casinos are in the money making business. If Casinos could simply improve their revenue by going smoke free, then they would all be smoke free. Think about it!

  3. Non-Smokers repeatedly state that they would start going to the Casinos if they were smoke free – I simply do not believe these statements. If you have not enjoyed the entertainment aspect of Casinos to this point after 16 years, it is doubtful that non-smokers will arrive in droves and compensate for the 30% loss of patronage and revenue.
    However, I am certain that the same people stating they would gladly make up the difference in the lost revenue to the City of Evansville, will be the first bloggers complaining when their own income tax, state and local taxes and sales tax is increased to keep our Police department and Fire departments viable as well as all the other areas that depend on Aztar money to keep our City solvent. They will be bent on removing the City Council members because the Council actually did what they demanded-but “Hey! I don’t want to pay for it out of my pocket! ”

    Truth? We need Aztar in these difficult financial times. A smoking ban on Aztar does NOT include any other casino in the state of Indiana. ONLY AZTAR – Smokers will drive elsewhere and Evansville will suffer the consequences.

    The message is that 4 out of 5 people no longer smoke-so what are the scare tactics about a 30% loss? While those statistics may be true in the general population – About 90% of Casino patrons smoke! and 30% will simply no longer come to a non-smoking casino when they are surrounded by other Indiana casinos that permit smoking.

    Evansville will suffer financially – no question and hindsight will never recoup the finanical loss to the city when all realize -Oops – we should have left a thriving business and great employer to operate thier business as only they know best, all the while keeping Evansville financially stable.

  4. To put it bluntly, people who are dumb enough to gamble and smoke are double losers. But then I guess it all works out. They don’t live very long so they don’t need as much money for their retirement. I do feel sorry for their families though.

    Addiction is addiction is addiction, whether it is meth, cocaine, booze, gambling, porn, child molestation, or whatever. These are sicknesses that leads to hurting others as well as the addicts. I am not sure why cities like Evansville and many others put themselves in the position of basing their budgets on needing the money that comes from hurting a group of citizens that live within their city limits. It is a sad commentary on greed and lack of restraint.

  5. Shame on you bakker! All opinions aside, you sound very bitter and judgmental. It’s okay to have your own opinion. You feel the way you feel, and I feel the way I feel. However, comparing nicotine addiction to meth addiction is completely ridiculous. I respect your opinion, but your contempt and anger with addicts is repulsive. I get the feeling that given the chance, your language regarding “dumb” addicts would have been much more severe given your obvious disgust. If you care so much about the families of addicts, why not get involved with organizations that help identify and treat addictions? Instead of bashing people who have different beliefs and compulsions, focus on helping rather than degrading them.

    While the issue of exempting the casino from a smoking ban is most likely about self-preservation for the casino, the residents who support this concept are not “basing their budgets on hurting citizens.” The entire placement of the casino on the riverfront has helped to push revitalization and revenue into our once dying downtown area. Residents who support an exemption are supporting the fact that without the casino, we would continue to be a dying city. We cannot afford to lose another large business that employs hundreds of our residents. And as a city, we deserve the opportunity to make our decisions based on what will benefit the whole, not appease the opinions of someone who obviously believes that addicts are of lesser value than oneself.

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