The proposed exemption from the city's pending smoking ban could include not only downtown Shreveport's two casino's, but also city bars and eateries that have video poker or other electronic gaming.

The exemption, introduced by Councilman James Flurry, is scheduled to be voted on by the council at their next scheduled meeting on July 13.

And the first impression of many, including many bar owners, was that the smoking pass was for casinos only.

"As a bar owner in Shreveport I can tell you that if the city council votes to exempt the casinos from the smoking ban there will be a class action lawsuit filed. I have spoken to over 100 bar owners in Shreveport and we agree this would be necessary. To exempt the casinos would cost the bars customers who play video poker. With as much as 60% of bars revenue coming from video poker play it would be detrimental if this were to happen."

But a closer read of the legislation shows that, in reality, the exemption as written, does include more than the boats.

"Any gambling facility...INCLUDING BARS LICENSED FOR THE OPERATION OF ELCTRONIC VIDEO DRAW POKER DEVICES...or any other gaming operations licensed by law."

KEEL attempted to contact Shreveport City Council members to get their interpretation of the proposal and those who responded were adamant that local bars with video poker, etc., were included in the exemption.

The Council voted last July to delay the implementation of the smoking ban for a year, saying that to make such a drastic change to businesses already struggling during the pandemic could possibly cost jobs or lead to business closings.

 

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