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Proposed Law Would Mean Ameristar Can't Go Smoke-Free Unless Hollywood Casino Does the Same

St. Charles lawmaker Bill Otto introduced a bill that would prohibit casinos from being subject to smoking laws that a casino within 75 miles are not subject to.

It's all or none when it comes to smoking in casinos. At least, that's the way Missouri State Rep. Bill Otto, D-St. Charles, wants it. 

Otto introduced a bill—House Bill 509—to mebers of the Missouri State House of Representatives that would prohibit casinos from being subject to smoking laws that a casino within 75 miles are not subject to.

Essentially, Otto is aiming for a fair playing field. 

From a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report:

Otto says he wants to keep one area casino from gaining a temporary advantage over another.

Eventually, he said, he expects that all local communities in the St. Louis area will enact bans on smoking in casinos, bars and other public places with few exemptions, although he opposes such restrictions on businesses.

“These counties will fall one at a time,” Otto said. “It will really be detrimental to whichever casino goes nonsmoking first. This will just kill them.”

Otto said his bill would allow cities or a county “to do whatever they want fully understanding they won’t affect the casinos immediately.”

The bill would also prevent St. Charles County from enacting a smoking ban for Ameristar Casino unless one was already at place at Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights, the report says.

In January, St. Louis County Councilman Mike O’Mara introduced legislation to apply the St. Louis County smoking ban to county casinos.

O’Mara wants to remove all exemptions from the county's smoking ban, and that includes Hollywood and Ameristar casinos.

O'Mara, according to the Post-Dispatch, said he still has to look at Otto's legislation. 

For more on this issue, read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The bill is the first piece of legislation that Otto has sponsored this session—the 97th General Assembly of Missouri. He is the co-sponsor on a number of bills.

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