On August 1, Ho-Chunk Nation's Gaming Madison will offer its customers something that no other tribal casino in Wisconsin can: a “100 percent” smoke-free gaming facility. The casino, located in Madison, is already an alcohol-free venue.
The exception, however, is electronic or e-cigarettes, which will still be allowed on the gaming floor, since they do not produce smoke, only water vapor, Missy Tracy a spokesperson for the casino told Madison.com. “We just feel a completely smoke-free environment will be another bonus for our guests,” she said, speaking to Madison's NBC affiliate. “Another added bonus for going completely smoke-free, we will be able to increase our social responsibility in the community.” Specifically, Tracy referred to the health benefits for employees and guests who are non-smokers.
The decision to make the change came after a guest survey showed that customers wanted a smoke free environment. "We believe we are among the first businesses choosing to do this on our own, rather than being mandated to do so," the casinos executive manager Daniel Brown told Madison.com.
In 2010, Wisconsin instituted the Wisconsin Statewide Smoke-Free Air Law requiring restaurants, bars and entertainment venues to be smoke free. But as a sovereign nation, Ho-Chunk is self-governing and not required to follow the state mandate. The nation owns six casinos, but this is the first of its facilities to undergo a change.
But Brown said that the casino will still try to accommodate all of its customers – at least 4 million people visit the casino annually. They will sell cigarettes on the gaming floor, and provide a designated smoking room that’s apart from the current facility so that the smoke will not permeate into the building. “We still believe in providing areas to accommodate all of our guests, but, want to assure the existing building will be 100 percent smoke-free,” Brown told NBC.