South MS gamblers weigh in on smoking ban in New Orleans

South MS gamblers weigh in on smoking ban in New Orleans

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - As of Wednesday, taking a puff while trying your luck is no longer allowed in The Big Easy. That is why some Silver Slipper patrons say they won't be placing anymore bets in their home state.

"I don't agree with it," Slidell, LA, resident Casie Persho said. "There's more people on the highway drinking and driving and killing other people. Cigarettes kill the individual, not others."

"I feel like the people who want to smoke, they ought to be able to smoke," Chalmette, LA, resident Madeline Wheat said. "If they want to make one smoking floor, well then the people that don't want to smoke don't have to go on that floor."

Harrah's Casino in New Orleans estimates losing as much as 20 percent of its revenue the first year of being forced to be smoke free. Some players believe that loss will be a big win for South Mississippi.

"I used to go to all the casinos in Louisiana. I would go to Treasure Chest, Harrah's, go to the Bally. I go across the river to Boomtown, but with them having not smoking, I'm not going. I'll stay right here in Mississippi," Wheat said. "I'm afraid it will be a lot busier here, and you are going to come in and wait to be able to get on the machines."

Silver Slipper General Manager John Ferrucci estimates more than half of their patrons already travel from Louisiana.

"I expect we will see some new faces after today, but this has happened in other jurisdictions in the country, and what happens is there is a short term fall off. People go other places, but eventually, they will go back to where they were before," Ferrucci said.

There are some gamblers who applaud New Orleans leaders for kicking the butt.

"I love it," Wanda Johnson said. "I'm a nonsmoker. I smoked when I was younger, but I've been a nonsmoker for years, and it does bother me. Smoke outside instead of inside."

The Palace Casino in Biloxi is the only smoke free casino in South Mississippi. General Manager Keith Crosby said revenue did drop immediately afterwards but is now back to what it was before they banned cigarettes.

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