Tropicana concerned over smoking ban in Baton Rouge

Tropicana Entertainment Inc owns the Belle of Baton Rouge Hotel & Casino in Louisiana.

The Metro Council will be discussing a proposed smoking ban today during a public hearing which may end up in vote.

US.- Today (Wednesday) the Metro Council will discuss a proposed smoking ban for the totality of East Baton Rouge Parish during a public hearing. The measure may be up for a vote as the hearing progresses.

The smoking ban for East Baton Rouge was introduced three weeks ago by six Metro Council members. The purpose of the proposal is to close exemptions in the state’s nonsmoking law passed in 2007 by including bars and casinos.

The Smoke-free East Baton Rouge coalition has spent around US$300,000 in advertising to educate the public on the risks of secondhand smoking. The Louisiana AARP, local musicians and health care leaders support the organisation.

On the other hand, Tropicana Entertainment Inc., parent company of The Belle of Baton Rouge Hotel & Casino claims the proposal would have a “significant negative economic impact” on the entire parish. Furthermore, Tony Rodio, Tropicana Entertainment Inc. President and CEO, stated that the hotel and casino paid US$16 million in taxes to the city-parish and state governments in 2015, a number that would significantly decline if the smoking ban is passed. Currently, most of The Belle’s property is already smoke-free, including the hotel, atrium, meeting rooms, restaurants and bars.

“This ordinance, which would abolish smoking on the gaming floor, puts all casinos in Baton Rouge at a considerable competitive disadvantage,” said Rodio in his statement. “Customers who wish to smoke while they play can simply take their business to one of the dozens of smoke-friendly gaming options in neighboring cities.”