Bad news for smoking casino games players in New Orleans, smoking cigarettes that is, not playing casino games that are in any way on fire! The New Orleans smoking ban means that it’s no longer allowed in bars and casinos and almost all public places, including prisons, hotels, stadiums and arenas and even cars that are owned by the fine city of New Orleans. While this is great news for those who do not smoke and that dislike a smoky environment in casinos and bars, it will of course have an impact on businesses.
Harrah’s Casino is leading the charge against the smoking ban stating that it will lose an awful lot of customers and therefore the state will lose out on the tax dollar, with figures showing that revenues could be down by 20% which would in no way help with the current $1.6 billion budget deficit. Harrah’s is one of 50 companies that filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the law being passed, however the smoking ban is in place and will continue to be in place until a further hearing, however many doubt that any ban will be lifted.
The lawsuit filed by Harrah’s and others names New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu as a defendant and claims that not only is it invalid as a fiscal note was not presented to council members stating how much the new law would cost the city, but it’s also unworkable due to the fact that the business themselves must enforce the law, which they believe is overboard. Harrah’s has stated that it intends to renegotiate its lease which guarantees at the very least $1.8 million per year for the city, and doubles should it reach revenues of $287.5 million a year, a figure that would now be difficult to reach. Harrah’s officials have stated that they would be looking to reduce their payments to the city by between $3.5 and $13.5 million a year should the ban stay.