SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) – The Illinois House narrowly approved a bill that would exempt casinos from the state’s 2-year-old smoking ban. The bill now goes to the state Senate.
The bill passed by 62-52 vote, two more votes than it needed for passage. It contains language that would automatically reinstate the ban if neighboring states adopt similar measures banning smoking in their casinos.
Supporters say the law is needed to stop the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars into casinos in neighboring states due to the smoking ban. They say Illinois casinos have lost $800 million to the smoking ban, much of it going to Missouri competitors.
Opponents say lawmakers are turning their backs on the health of casino employees, and they question the numbers offered by supporters.