Another group of smokers, this time in Colorado, attempts to accommodate a group that seeks no accommodating: Smoke Nazis.
We're a little wary of tales warning of the U.S. turning into a police state. But the following story is another depressing one in the march of a free society along the road to one where personal habits are highly-regulated.
Smoke Nazis hit the jackpot in Colorado.
Time is burning up for smokers to light up in Colorado casinos. A new law that bans smoking inside the gaming halls starts New Year’s Day. “We’re expecting the first three months to see a decline a little bit,” said Scott Porter, assistant managing director of the Triple Crown Casinos.
Porter says he and other casino operators have been working with the city of Cripple Creek on marketing projects to draw customers to town, including a new community-wide ice festival planned for this coming February.
But, even if the ban doesn’t stop the smokers from gabling, the casinos say they are still expecting at least a 10 to 20 percent drop in revenue. “That’s created by the customer who normally would be playing the machine and having a cigarette having to leave the machine and go have a smoke then come back in,” explains Bronco Billy’s co-owner Marc Murphy.
So, before they take away the ashtrays, the casinos have been busy finding ways to keep smokers from feeling left out in the cold. Bronco Billy’s has added heaters beneath their awnings to help warm up the sidewalks. Slot machines at the Triple Crown Casinos; the Brass Ass, the Midnight Rose, and J.P. McGill’s, as well as at the Gold Rush and Bronco Billy’s will soon have removable signs that reserve a machine for 10 minutes while a smoker steps out for a break. “It’s a uniform sign …and it just eliminates some of the confusion,” says Murphy.
Around town, some people say the ban is a breath of fresh air. Kelly Cain of Colorado Springs says, “I love the idea of not coming here and having to sit and breathe somebody else’s smoke, and go home and have my hair smell like smoke.”
Kelly Cain could exercise her right of any American citizen: stay home or find a casino that chooses to accommodate non-smoking customers or any number of other novel ideas.
Instead, Kelly, like most of the Smoke Nazis, seems comfortable with the idea of dictating to businesses and their customers what they are and are not allowed to do in a free society.
The Bauers are a bit more accommodating.
Cripple Creek residents John and Melody Bauer say they too welcome the smoke-free laws. “We’d rather see the casinos smoke-free as long (there was) some place for the customers to smoke,” John Bauer said..
Others in the area do speak up.
However, others in town think the government should butt out of their business. “Who’s it hurting?” questioned resident Dave Ragulsky. “I don’t think it’s right.” Laura Miller agreed saying the ban will likely to send more smokers looking to friendlier casinos like Las Vegas. “You know, the saloons have been around since the 1800’s and I don’t think it’s right,” said Miller.
Imitating the forces of Prohibition, smoking foes reveal that, as far as they are concerned, there will be no accommodation.
It's either their way or the highway.
A potential legal battle is shaping up about how far the casinos can go in accommodating smoking customers. In Central City, the town government has cleared the way for casinos there to build covered smoking areas outside. But groups like Smoke-Free Gaming of Colorado say the patios count as enclosed areas and thus violate the law.
Smoke-Free Gaming of Colorado?
Like the original National Socialists, the Smoke Nazis exhibit a tightly-organized structure.
One only hopes they will meet the same end.
* Casino Smoking Ban is Fast Approaching
Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.