Casinos are places where adults may indulge their senses and desires, an adult playland filled with lights and color, food and drink, spectacles and sensualities.
Libertarians rejoice at the freedoms permitted to enjoy oneself as one wishes; religious nuts and other control freaks continually try to deny these opportunities, both by pushing to prevent casinos, and then by restricting them in various ways.
The latest threat to casino patrons comes in the guise of health care, in the form of anti-smoking ordinances, and Colorado is on the front line of the battle.
State legislators voted this year to extend the ban on smoking passed in 2006, which previously exempted casinos, cigar bars, and smoking lounges at airports, to include casinos, as of January 1st.
Fearful of losing customers, Colorado’s three licensed casinos have asked for clarification on the law, including rules concerning enforcement. Other states, such as Delaware, have experienced a drop of up to 20% of revenue after enacting smoking bans at casinos.
The towns that host the casinos are aware of the possible effects the ban may have on their economic growth spurt. Two of the three towns with casinos have already modified the state law, which allows for municipal change, to make the minimum distance for smoking in relation to a structure from fifteen feet to one inch.
The casinos have already applied for building permits to construct partially open areas that will qualify as outdoors, and thus free from the ban.
Cripple Creek City Administrator Bill McPherson seemed to indicate noncompliance by the casino in his town would be between the state and the casino, noting that his city did not have either the funding or manpower to enforce the ban.
In a world that largely dictates behavior, casinos are an oasis of choice, a paradise in which no man may interfere with the pleasure of another, as long as no one else is harmed. To think that a crack in the armor of the freedoms enjoyed while gaming may come from those religious zealots known as the politically correct, well… if there is anything more against the spirit of casinos than eliminating a choice because someone else has decided it’s bad for you, it isn’t apparent.