TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Terre Haute will be breaking ground on a brand new casino in a couple of months. With that in mind, tobacco-free Vigo held its third and final smoke-free webinar on Friday afternoon. This time, they focused on smoke-free casinos.
The webinar featured five keynote speakers. They included doctors, casino lobbyists, and different smoke-free advocates.
Coordinator Sarah Knoblock said the focus of this webinar series was to educate the public about the dangers of second-hand smoke. In fact, the webinar used data from a boll that WTHI News 10 released back in February. It read that 72% of respondents want a smoke free casino to come to Terre Haute.
Dr. Randy Stevens of Union Hospital was the first keynote speaker. He went through different negatives of smoking in the workplace, and how damaging second-hand smoke can be.
Randy Hayden is a former consultant for the Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He joined the webinar to say smoke-free casinos are actually just as, if not more, successful than those that allow smoking.
Casinos can, and do all across America, make a successful business operation out of the smoke-free arena," Hayden explained, "They're employees are much happier, they're much more productive, and those that embrace it and grow with it tend to get more market share and we've seen it all across the country."
Char Day is a program specialist for Americans For Nonsmokers Rights (ANR). She spoke as well and explained the success that smoke-free casinos have had in both cost savings and overall revenues.
She says casinos spend less money on air filters, there are fewer employee sick days because of second-hand smoke, and there's a drop in health insurance costs. Patrons also play machines longer at smoke-free casinos. Overall, Day says going smoke-free is a no brainer for the casino coming to Terre Haute.
"The revenue comes back even stronger than ever before when they go smoke-free," Day said, "Smoke-free gaming is popular and even gamblers really prefer the smoke-free indoor air."
700 people are expected to be employed by the casino in its first year. Advocates agreed that they just want to see them protected and stay safe while being smoke-free.