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Non-Smoking Casino Shows Free Market Better Than Laws

If there really is demand for smoke-free casinos, the Fernley Nugget will soon spawn imitators.

The Fernley Nugget is a casino out to seek an unsatisfied market segment. Located thirty minutes outside Reno, the casino needs to give patrons something distinguishing, a reason to travel past more convenient casinos and gambling outlets.

Scott Tate, general manager of the Nugget, did what any good businessman does. He found a portion of the population of casino clientele that was unhappy at most casinos, and changed his format to attract them. Fernley Nugget is a non-smoking casino, one of only two in Nevada, where the law allows smoking on casino floors.

Players upset with the presence of smoke around them now have a choice. They no longer need to feel compelled to force others to stop smoking by creating new laws. If there really is demand for smoke-free casinos, the Fernley Nugget will soon spawn imitators.

Tate asserted that, as Adam Smith, the father of capitalism, would have it, the decision to go smokeless was not about health or cancer consciousness, but about market research and business.

“People say they like a smoke-free environment,”  Tate says. “Well, here is one. Show me.”

The casino opened November 5th, and so far all projections have been met, even with the rest of Nevada's casino industry sinking deeper into economic declines and recession.

In general, casino revenues have been hard hit by mandatory smoking bans enacted by states. But a model like the Fernley Nugget, which gives businesses the right to compete as best they are able using the response of the open market, shows that there is a profitable way for smoking and non-smoking venues to co-exist. And that way doesn't involve the trampling of individual rights to choose.

Published on December 27, 2008 by EdBradley

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