Gambling with Our Health

Smoke-Free Policy Would Not Reduce Tribal Casino Patronage


      Tribal sovereignty exempts tribal casinos from statewide smoking bans.


      To conduct a tribally-led assessment to identify the characteristics of casino patrons at Lake of the Torches Resort Casino in Lac du Flambeau WI and their preferences for a smoke-free casino.


      A survey was administered from April to August 2011 to a stratified random sample of 957 members of the casino players club to assess their preferences for a smoke-free casino. These members were categorized into three groups: those who reported being likely to (1) visit more; (2) visit less; or (3) visit the same if the casino prohibited smoking. They were characterized by age, education, sex, race/ethnicity, annual income, players club level, and reasons for visiting the casino. Statistical analyses were conducted on weighted data in October to December 2011. Weighted logistic regression was calculated to control for potential confounding of patron characteristics.


      Of the 957 surveyed patrons, 520 (54%) patrons were likely to visit more; 173 (18%) patrons to visit less; and 264 (28%) patrons were indifferent to the smoke-free status. Patrons more likely to prefer a smoke-free casino tended to be white, elderly, middle class and above, and visit the casino restaurants. Patrons within the lower tiers of the players club, almost half of the players club members, also showed a higher preference for a smoke-free casino.


      This tribal casino would likely realize increased patronage associated with smoke-free status while also contributing to improved health for casino workers and patrons.
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