Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Casino Queen business way down!

I visited the Casino Queen again tonight and stood out on the "smoking lounge" with the freezing smokers. One of the electric radiators from the night before was gone and had been replaced by a large propane heater fed by a hose to a large tank in the corner. It produced pretty much heat but folks hovered so close to it I thought they might catch fire.

One smoker told me he was a Wednesday night regular. He thought Casino Queen business was a mere third its normal size. He said that many folks only showed up at the start of the smoking ban in hopes that the Queen would loosen her slots to keep smokers. But he claimed the smoking ban had brought him no better luck. He said the lack of a $500 loss limit partly attracted him to the Queen. But as he shivered smoking, I doubted that would hold him long. He attributed the poor crowd to a one-two punch of the smoking ban and a new casino across the river. He told me to check out the Friday or Saturday crowd for a better read on the effect of the smoknig ban.

Another smoker I talked to said that a political meeting was coming up that would do something about this unworkable smoking ban. He also pointed out that the ban had been based on a phony claim that 8 hours of work in a smoking-allowed venue equals smoking a pack of cigarettes. Our criticism of this dumb claim is getting around. He said he read the debunking of the claim in a recent letter in the Belleville News-Democrat. I'll have to find out who wrote that.