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Washington Tribe Opens Non-Smoking Casino

19 September 2006

WASHINGTON – As reported by the Seattle Post Intelligencer: "In the larger of two buildings at the Muckleshoot Indian Casino near Auburn, smoke fills the air as it did in the old days -- before Washington's tough indoor smoking ban.

"At the craps table, and at rows and rows of electronic slot machines, cigarettes are held between forefingers and middle fingers, puffed hard and nervously in that long moment when the dice tumble or the wheels spin.

"At the smaller, new building next door, five men sit hunched over a blackjack table. They each hit and go over 21.

"…There's tension in the air here, too, but no smoke -- no ashtrays resting alongside the blackjack table, the craps table, the slots. Same casino, different air. That's the rule here: no smoking. But it's not the law.

"That the Muckleshoot Tribe -- which is a sovereign nation and exempt from the smoking ban -- opened a non-smoking tribal casino two weeks ago illustrates how attitudes about smoking are changing places that once were associated a musty haze.

"… 'Our customers wanted it,' Muckleshoot spokesman Rollin Fatland said.

"In fact, he noted, the same week that the new smoke-free casino opened, the state Health Department reported that only 17.8 percent of adults in the state smoke, the fifth-lowest rate in the nation…"

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