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Illinois smoking ban will also include casinos

By Sean Crawford, IL Public Radio

Springfield, Ill. – As bar and restaurant owners in Illinois prepare to go smoke-free next year, so will riverboat casinos. They're all included in a smoking ban signed into law Monday.

Including casinos has some lawmakers concerned that Illinois boats will lose business to its neighbors, like Democrat Patrick Verschoore. The casino in his area competes with those in neighboring Iowa.

He points to a study that shows 60% of gamblers also smoke, and says if smoking is prohibited on the Illinois boat, customers will travel the few extra minutes to wager at any one of two boats in Davenport, Iowa.

VerSchoore says he tried to get his colleagues to exempt casinos from the smoking ban but was unsuccessful.

He says he plans to keep pushing for the change; one that would allow smoking on the gaming floor only.

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