Monday, September 21, 2009

Smoke-Free Gaming Efforts

An issue that came up quite a bit in the debate around Wisconsin's own statewide smoke-free workplaces law was casinos, specifically tribal casinos. Given the fact that the Wisconsin state government does not have the regulatory authority to address the issue of smoking within tribal casinos, there are still thousands of workers who are not going to be protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke. This is an issue not just in Wisconsin but in nearly every state that allows gaming, whether it is state-run or tribal- run. 

Like in some areas in Wisconsin, many states have areas in which gaming facilities are the single largest employers. Employers who have very large numbers of employees ought to provide safe, healthy environments for their workers. Part of that healthy work environment includes providing smoke-free facilities. Just as the sciences is clear on secondhand smoke so is the fact that 4 out of 5 casino patrons do NOT smoke. Click here for more background information on smoke-free gaming.
Recently in Indiana an opinion peice highlighted the great lengths the gaming industry would go to avoid having to provide safe, smoke-free workplaces to their employees. Casino lobbying expenses were close to $3.6 million dollars in Indiana alone. As the Americans for Non-Smoker's Rights Foundation points out there are nearly 17,000 workers in Indiana's casinos who are not protected from the hazards of secondhand smoke. The article concludes by saying, "Proponents of smoke-free workplaces have two options: Tighten campaign finance laws, or elect those committed to smoke-free workplace legislation."

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