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Connecticut casino smoking ban advances

21 April 2009

HARTFORD, Connecticut -- As reported by The Hartford Courant: "Despite threats of legal action and a potential battle over nearly $400 million a year in slot-machine revenue currently added to state coffers, a key legislative committee voted Monday to ban smoking at the state's two Indian casinos.

"The Democratic members on the legislature's government administration and elections committee said they have the right to ban smoking to protect the health of casino workers — including those who have complained about the health effects of second-hand smoke.

"But Republican lawmakers said the bill is clearly unconstitutional and would violate the compacts between the state and the Indian tribes that operate the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos. They said the bill specifically targets casinos while allowing private clubs to continue permitting smoking.

"...The bill passed 8-3 on a party-line vote.

"The two casinos have said they prefer to reach a resolution directly with the governor's office, rather than being forced to ban smoking by the legislature..."

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