Indiana Supreme Court Bans Smoking in Evansville Casino
Officials in Evansville, Indianapolis, have been told that they can’t exempt a casino from the city’s smoking ban by the Indiana Supreme Court. The judges voted 3-2 to remove the part of the ban that would allow smoking in the riverboat casino docked at the Ohio River city.The judges said that leaving the casino out of the ban would violate the Indiana Constitution’s Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause. Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote that granting the casino an exemption was “tantamount to the government selling exemption…for the bonus of anticipated financial benefits.”
However, Justice Loretta Rush argued that those benefits were part of what made the casino unique and entitled it to exemption. She said that most of the casinos customers come from out of town and not granting the exemption could cost Evansville over $4.3 million in tax revenue and $6.3 million in lost wages of casino employees.
Evansville City Council President John Friend said, “I’m surprised. The only thing we can do is step back, regroup and see what the options are.”