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Smoking Ban Starts Wednesday, Harrah's & Quarter Bars Retaliate With Lawsuit

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Harrah's has filed a suit against the City of New Orleans to halt the ban. 50+ bars and restaurants have joined in.

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The city wide smoking ban in bars and casinos begins this Wednesday, April 22, but not everyone is happy about it. Harrah's Casino, along with 50+ bars including Pat O's, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop and Tropical isle (and Quarter restaurants Broussard's, Kingfish and Cafe Maspero) have filed a suit against the city in Civil District Court to 'strike down the ban' before it goes into effect.  The suit included a restraining order that 'aimed to stop the ordinance' before Wednesday, but that has been denied. So the casino and pro-smoking friends will have to embrace the ban until a May 21 hearing and likely after that, because...honestly, is the ban going to be reversed or delayed to the year 2525 (if man is still alive)? Probably not.

Per The Advocate, Harrah's believes that the smoking ban will cost the city millions, and the casino 20% of its $287.5+ million/year in business along with it. The casino is seeking exemption of the ban in some form, or it threatens to renegotiate current lease agreement guarantees the city about 3.6 million from the state, which could be cut in half along with the $500K in sales tax from the casino. The casino also leases their land from the city, and it would look to reduce payments "between $3.5 million and $13.5 million a year." There are also claims that the revenue loss could trickle down to the police and even education.

The suit also claims that the ban is invalid because "council members did not receive a fiscal note —saying how much the measure would cost the city— when it was introduced, as required by law."  Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell—who first introduced the ordinance—tells The Advocate she isn't surprised by Harrah's lawsuit, but believes the ban will ultimately boost the local economy because the city can now host more trade group conventions and lower its health care costs.

Harrah's Casino And Hotel Corporate Offices

365 Canal St, Fl 9, New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 533-6000

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