Saturday, June 06, 2009

Federal Reserve economists release smoking ban study

St. Louis Federal Reserve economists have released their study of the Illinois smoking ban and 2008 casino revenues:

“Smoking was banned in all Illinois casinos in January 2008. We explore the effects that the smoking ban has had on Illinois casino revenue and attendance. Our empirical methodology extends and enhances that of previous literature in that we observe a natural experiment in comparing the performance of Illinois casinos with out-of-state casinos (no smoking ban) that share a market with Illinois casinos. Estimates suggest that revenue and admissions at Illinois casinos declined by more than 20 percent ($400 million) and 12 percent, respectively. Calculations reveal that casino tax revenue to state and local governments declined by approximately $200 million.”

Mayor Slay’s office was sent an advance copy of this research. No wonder Mayor Slay now wants to exempt casinos from Lyda Krewson’s smoking ban. But University of Wisconsin economist Dr. Chad Cotti has estimated that Lyda’s smoking ban would cut City bar employment 19.7 percent. Shouldn’t City bars get an exemption too?