Because some bars and especially casinos have seen a huge dropoff in revenues since Illinois imposed its smoking ban in 2008. Casinos reportedly are down 28 percent. A State Legislative panel concluded that the smoking ban has been the biggest reason (I gotta believe the overall economic downturn is a pretty big damn factor, too.).
The Illinois State House passed a bill yesterday to lift the smoking ban on casinos. Another bill in the Illinois Legislature would weaken the smoking ban in bars (It would allow bars to get a smoking exemption licence.), while ironically, Illinois is also considering a bill to raise its cigarette tax another 50 cents a pack (from $.98 a pack to $1.48 a pack — man that would drill Chicago. Chicago has a high city cigarette tax, making it one of the most expensive cities in the country already for cigarettes — about $7 to $8 a pack.)
If the Senate passes the casino exemption and it’s signed into law, Illinois would become the first state in the country weaken its smoking ban.