Thursday, March 10, 2011 | 2:01 a.m.
Regarding John Tominsky’s Monday letter to the editor, headlined “Casinos should respect patrons and ban smoking”:
I quit smoking 28 years ago, but I do recognize certain facts. Like it or not, gambling, smoking and drinking go together. Some casino patrons do smoke, especially in casinos that cater to tourists.
The last time I saw a Las Vegas casino, Silver City on Convention Center Drive, go completely nonsmoking, it went out of business. I was in there both before and after the smoking ban, and patronage was down more than 50 percent after.
By the time the casino tried to re-allow smoking, it was too late.
Some casinos have nonsmoking tables or small groups of nonsmoking machines, but those don’t help much. The few gray-haired people in senior complexes and elsewhere who choose not to patronize casinos that allow smoking will not really put a dent in their profit margins.
I was in a casino in Southern California recently that had a large room with gaming tables and many machines set aside for nonsmokers, and though the main room was very busy, the nonsmoking room was almost empty.
If, as Mr. Tominsky says, nonsmoking casinos will gain hundreds of customers, which I doubt, they will lose many hundreds more.
As far as smoking in casinos being a health hazard to employees, keep in mind that these employees knew about the smoking before they took the jobs.