Smoking Ban Threatened Atlantic City’s Identity

Published November 10, 2008

Atlantic City, commonly thought of as the Vegas of the East Coast, was in danger of becoming just another second-tier gaming city. The much-debated smoking ban would have been the end of an era if the re percussions were anything like the ones that have beleaguered other ca sinos (editorial, “Up in smoke,” Nov. 5).

In Illinois, where I reside, for example, casinos are struggling mightily since implementation of a statewide smoking ban. Many anti-smoking special-interest groups try to downplay the economic effects, but the numbers are too staggering to reasonably dispute. Since the begin ning of 2008, the cumulative adjusted gross receipts of Illinois casinos are down 18.35 percent from where they were at this time last year.

By comparison, Indiana and Iowa, two neighboring states where smoking is still allowed on gaming floors, continue to outperform Illinois casi nos. There would likely have been a similar boon for Connecticut casinos if the Atlantic City smoking ban had been made permanent. At stake for the city are not only tax revenue, tourism and jobs at a time when such things are hard to come by, but also the city’s identity.

— JOHN NOTHDURFT, Chicago The writer is budget and tax legislative specialist for The Heartland Institute (
As seen in the Times of Trenton here.