Smoking ban: No drop in off-track betting

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., March 23 (UPI) -- A smoking ban implemented in an Indiana community did not hurt business at the off-track betting facility, U.S. researchers say.

Lead author Jon Macy, assistant professor at Indiana University's School of Health, Physical Education, said past research showed smoke-free laws do not negatively affect businesses, but the findings concerning gambling establishment were mixed.


"Prior research has very clearly demonstrated that laws prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces have no negative economic consequences in multiple industries," Macy says in a statement. "Our study is one of the first to find that this holds true for gaming facilities as well."

The researchers compared per capita "handle," the amount gamblers spent per number of people living in the county, of three Indiana off-track betting facilities from 2002 to 2009. In 2007, in Fort Wayne, Ind., a smoking ban for all workplaces including those involving gambling was enacted. Researchers compared it to OTB facilities in Indianapolis and Merrillville.

The study, published online in the journal Tobacco Control, found per capita handle in all three facilities declined at a similar rate during this period. Unemployment rates were a significant predictor of the per capita handle but there was no change in the trend in per capita handle after Fort Wayne went smoke-free.


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