April 27, 2008
Unintended Consequences for Charities from State Smoking Bans
Yesterday I blogged about Minnesota's limits on charity raffle prizes. A few days earlier, the New York Times reported on state laws that may have had a much more significant effect on charity gambling - indoor smoking bans that reach charity bingo games. According to the article, in Minnesota alone charities saw revenues drop 13 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, as compared to the same quarter of 2006, and half of the drop is estimated to be attributable to a new, statewide indoor smoking ban that took effect in October 2007. On an annual basis that amounts to approximately $100 million in less revenue for charities that rely on charity bingos for a portion of their revenues. The article cites evidence of similar drops for charity bingo participation in California, New Jersey, New York, and Washington State when statewide smoking bans went into place.