3 Casinos Have Claimed Smoking Ban Exemption
Cripple Creek, Colorado – Cripple Creek officials said they won’t enforce the statewide smoking ban at casinos that claim they are exempt.
A letter written by the Cripple Creek city administrator said, „The City believes that the spirit and intent of the 2007 amendment to the [Colorado Clean Indoor Air] Act, which took effect January 1, 2008 was to prohibit smoking in casinos. However, through ambiguous draftsmanship, the General Assembly has left the door open for interpretation of the Cigar-Tobacco Bar exception to at least arguably apply to those casinos that meet their requirements of that exemption pertaining to historic sales of tobacco products, liquor licensing, etc…“
Three of Cripple Creek’s 14 casinos have claimed the exemption.
Democratic state Sen. Ken Gordon of Denver, who co-sponsored the smoking ban, said the law is clear and said Cripple Creek should have the courage to enforce it.
City officials said they don’t have the manpower to police inside the casinos or audit their books to see if they sell enough tobacco to qualify as cigar bars.
Other casino owners, who have made efforts to follow the law by installing outdoor smoking lounges, are frustrated.
„It’s not fair. It’s not a level playing field,“ said Eric Rose with the Colorado Grande Casino. „If we had known there would be no repercussions for breaking the law, maybe we all would have allowed smoking.“
At least one Black Hawk casino is also claiming an exemption as a cigar bar.