Smoking ban
10:12 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Ballot question to ban smoking in St. Charles County will face legal challenge

Representatives for Ameristar Casino say they will file a lawsuit Tuesday morning to block a November ballot question on whether or not to ban smoking in St Charles County. 

According to casino representatives, if passed, the ban could put it at a disadvantage because patrons at other casinos in the state can light up when they gamble.

“Owners of business who have invested their money, in our case $700 to $800 million in our facility in St. Charles, should have the opportunity to operate that facility in a manner that they see fit,” said Troy Stremming, senior vice president of government affairs for Ameristar.

Stremming also said the council violated the county charter by not making the bill to create the ballot question publicly available at least 36 hours in advance of its introduction.  He added that, if the ban passes, it will unfairly cut into the casino’s bottom line and cost the county tax dollars and jobs. 

“Not only is it hundreds of jobs in the community from our business, but also vendors that we use when you have a reduction in the business levels you have,” Stremming said.  “Then there’s a huge trickledown effect into the economy that you have of those people that are no longer employed and they aren’t spending money in the community, as well.”

Council Chairperson Nancy Matheny did not comment due to legal concerns.

Councilman Joe Cronin sponsored the bill, but was not present at tonight’s council meeting.