Colorado’s smoking ban has created a number of problems. Stage performers tried to fight to ban because it prohibits them from smoking as part of a dramatic act. (What happened to the First Amendment?) Various venues fought for exceptions, and the now-infamous “cigar bar” exception has proved particularly difficult to define. The Rocky Mountain News offers the latest example with an AP article by Ivan Moreno:
State gambling regulators are at a loss about what to do with a Black Hawk casino that claims it’s exempt from the statewide smoking ban.
The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission said Thursday it wants to hear from its attorney on whether it has any authority to enforce the smoking ban, and whether the Wild Card Casino is violating the law. The casino claims it qualifies as a cigar bar, making it exempt from the smoking ban.
Critics claim the casino is exploiting a legal loophole. They told commissioners they have the power to enforce the ban and should revoke or suspend the casino’s gaming license.
“We’re not sure why this has continued to go on,” said Stephanie Steinberg of Smoke-Free Gaming of Colorado. “It’s your duty and responsibility to enforce this law.”
Okay: there’s a group called “Smoke-Free Gaming of Colorado?” I wonder if the founders and staff of the organization are among those who actually frequent the casinos. And why in the hell does Stephanie Steinberg care so much whether other people smoke on private property that she is free to avoid? Is it really her job to impose her will on everybody else?
I don’t know whether the casino in question technically meets the definition of a “cigar bar” as defined by the statute; I don’t even know whether the matter has a real answer. But that’s not really the point. (See my previous commentary on the issue.)
The owners of the Wild Card Casino have the right to allow smoking within the casino, or to ban smoking there. Properly, it’s none of Stephanie Steinberg’s business. If she doesn’t wish to see other people smoking in the Wild Card Casino or breath their smoke, nobody is forcing her to walk through the doors. Alternately, she could lawfully purchase the establishment on an open market, and then set whatever smoking policy she pleases. But leaving other people alone to control their own property is not good enough for Stephanie Steinberg of Smoke-Free Gaming of Colorado. She wants to send in the men with guns to “enforce this law” in violation of the rights of the property owners.