News has spread that St. Louis County Councilman Mike O’Mara plans to introduce legislation Tuesday to apply the St. Louis County smoking ban to county casinos.
Should this be considered, it would mean the county council would vote to remove all exemptions from the county's smoking ban, and that includes River City Casino and Hollywood Casino St. Louis.
O'Mara, a North County resident, cited the health issues related to smoke as the basis for he decision in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article.
“My goal is to get this ordinance cleaned up so that everyone in the county is on a level playing field,” he said. “I’ve heard from too many owners of bars and restaurants who have convinced me that it is unfair that some businesses have the exemption while others, sometimes located right up the street, don’t.”
Businesses have expressed mixed reviews about the law in the past. Hazelwood businesses that currently have exemptions as of a January 2013 updated list include Classic's Bar & Grill and Redbirds Sports Café & Billiards.
James Mays, owner of Redbird Sports Café, was vocal with the county from the beginning regarding his concerns with the ban affecting his business.
In January of 2011 Mays said his business dropped off 80 percent for two weeks after the ban took effect, and was down 50 to 60 percent since then.
At that time Mays said he had already applied for his current exemption and said his business qualified for an exemption; but the county had put a hold on issuing the exempt status.
“It’ll be money right out of my employees’ pockets because they won’t be working,” he said.
There are right at 160 establishments in the county that have smoking ban exemptions.