A week or so ago I was thinking of writing a blog post in favor of allowing smoking in casinos in Massachusetts. My logic was as follows: since the rationale for allowing casinos in Massachusetts is to extract cash from the populace to finance state government in a way that is more palatable than taxes, we might as well go all the way and allow an unhealthy behavior like smoking that’s synergistic with another unhealthy behavior –gambling. Like many others I associate smoking with gambling. Many of the same people who are addicted to smoking may be addicted to gambling. Why scare them away when we are counting on just such people to close our budget gap?
In the end I decided not to write that post because I really do buy into the idea that employees of the casinos shouldn’t be exposed to secondhand smoke. It was also a bit cynical.
Today I saw another reason to support a smoking ban: indications from Minneapolis/St. Paul indicating that banning smoking did not seem to adversely affect the bar business. I don’t know if that will carry over into casinos or not, but it seems like there’s a fair chance that it will.
But the authorities would be wise to keep the alcohol flowing, since drinking impairs judgment and lowers inhibitions. And if they do allow smoking in the end perhaps they should allow marijuana smoking, too.July 2, 2010