Senate revives casino smoking ban, with 1-year delay |

Senate revives casino smoking ban, with 1-year delay

DENVER – The Senate approved yet another version of a bill to expand the statewide smoking ban to casinos on Monday, this time amending it to give the gambling houses a year to put it into effect.Ten days earlier, the Senate had gutted the bill, amending it to allow smoking in casinos as long as it is permitted in cigar bars and the smoking lounge at Denver International Airport.The latest version of the measure (House Bill 1269) now goes back to the House, which approved the bill last month without the one-year delay.The smoking ban went into effect July 1 in most public indoor places, but since then some casino employees and health advocates have pushed to expand it to Colorado casinos, which are allowed in Black Hawk, Cripple Creek and Central City.Other casino employees and lawmakers have argued against expanding the ban, saying it would cut gambling revenues, costing jobs and reducing tax revenue.Casino operators have estimated their revenue could drop up to 30 percent if smoking is banned because gamblers won’t spend as much time at the tables and slot machines if they have to step outside for a smoke.In the Senate Monday, lawmakers said Gov. Bill Ritter is counting on casino revenue to pay for renewable energy projects, a major push in the first year of his administration.

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