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Nicotine Nannies claim smoking bans are good for business. But if that were the case, could this list exist, and could it be so huge? (Please note, this is only a small sample of articles available on the subject.)

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Local bingos are getting smoked out

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

I hate to say, “I told you so.” Ah, who am I kidding? To be honest, I love to say, “I told you so,” especially when it comes to how the city’s smoking bylaw has negatively impacted local charity bingo halls.

Back then I quoted the concerns of Teresa Young, volunteer president of the Fort Road Bingo Association. “In places like Ontario and British Columbia where smoking was banned, bingos lost from 40% to 70% of their business and some closed down,” Young told me four years ago.

It’s said that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. But politicians turned a blind eye to the shocking figures about the loss of business in other jurisdictions.

I remember talking to several who pooh-poohed the notion that a mere smoking ban could hurt business all that much. Oh yeah? Well, I told you so.

Bingo halls in Edmonton are closing and business is bad since the full smoking ban was introduced in July 2005.

A study by the Satellite Bingo Association revealed that attendance at bingos was down 25% in the first 12 months of the smoking ban compared the previous year.
What’s more, profit from bingos that go to charities was down an alarming 53% in that time frame, or $6.8 million.

That has a direct impact on the hundreds of charities that benefit from bingo bucks – everything from boxing clubs to amateur hockey teams.

On Sunday, Crest Bingo Hall, at 3414 118 Ave., closed.

The executive director of Alberta Satellite Bingo said that makes four Edmonton halls that have closed since the July 2005 butt-ban bylaw kicked in. “The Londonderry Bingo Hall closed, so did the Palms and the Alberta Avenue community league’s,” said Alberta Satellite Bingo executive director Ian Taylor.

His organization used provincial government figures to compile the gloomy report into bingo profits.

Taylor said he sent the mayor and councillors a copy of the report but only the mayor replied – and with a short note at that. “He just said he didn’t think council had the will to reopen the smoking issue.”

Talk about your hit-and-run politics. Here we have a council that passed a bylaw that wound up crippling business and impacting charities, but the politicians just don’t give a damn.

“There’s going to be less money left for charities,” said Taylor. They’ll stop programs or look somewhere else to try to raise money.

“They’ll also look at the city to do something for them.”

They won’t have much choice but to come with cap in hand.

Kerry Hutton, who called bingo at the Crest hall, said there’s more carnage to come. “There are a few bingo halls just hanging from a string and once we get cold weather we’ll lose two or three more,” said Hutton.

Bingo volunteer Barry Croucher points out the deep drop in business cannot be attributed to anything but the smoking ban since there was no significant new competition introduced in that time frame such as new casinos and the like.

His own youth athletic club, the Wind Warriors Boxing Club, has seen its payout from an average bingo go from $700 to $750 range to $130 or so.

Croucher was one of the many people who fought against a sweeping smoking ban.
Just before it was implemented, he made a prediction as to how badly bingo business would be hit.

“I said business would be down about 50%.”

As it turned out, he was dead right.

Too bad politicians don’t listen.

Soruce: Edmonton Sun. Link

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