Tuesday, March 18, 2008

State May Impose Casino Smoking Ban By Next February

Feather News

A state legislative committee approved a bill yesterday that will impose a smoking ban at both Connecticut Indian casinos next February if negotiations with the two tribes fail to reach an agreement before the February deadline.

Under a bill approved yesterday by the state legislature's public health committee, a ten-member panel will be set up to negotiate with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes on the issue. The bill must be approved by both the state Senate and House before it becomes law.

Both tribes assert that the state is impinging on their sovereignty while state officials say the compact that allows tribal gaming in Connecticut also gives the state the right to impose health standards at both casinos.

A smoking ban would result in fewer patrons and less revenue, according to the tribes.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal delivered his official opinion last week supporting the state's authority to impose a smoking ban at both casinos.