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Connecticut A.G. wants casino smoking ban

10 February 2009

HARTFORD, Connecticut -- As reported by The Hartford Courant: "The state attorney general proposed a law Monday that would ban smoking at Connecticut's casinos by October 2011, an aggressive maneuver opposed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

"Richard Blumenthal, who plans to run for a sixth term as attorney general in 2010, submitted a bill that would ban smoking in phases at Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun. The first phase would prohibit smoking in all non-gambling areas and in 20 percent of gambling areas by October 2009.

"'The casinos can't be permitted to gamble with the public health,' Blumenthal said at his office Monday while surrounded by Foxwoods employees, officials from the United Auto Workers union, which represents some of them, and public health advocates.

"A bill supported by Blumenthal that would have banned smoking at both casinos died in the legislature last year. The casinos say a smoking ban would drive away customers.

"Rell opposes a legislative ban and says one would lead to a costly legal battle with the Indian tribes that own the casinos. The tribes have maintained that as sovereign nations they're not subject to state law. Rell instead favors negotiating a deal with the casinos to curb smoking without mandating it by law. Last month she reached a nonbinding deal with Mohegan Sun to expand the nonsmoking areas of the gaming floor and elsewhere in the casino complex..."

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