Gambling revenues decline after smoking ban

The state Gambling Control Board said pull-tab sales in bars were down nearly 13 percent during the fourth quarter of 2007. That's a $40 million decrease in receipts from the same period the previous year.

Prior to the ban, receipts had declined an average of 2.5 percent a year over the last five years.

The study is limited to the first three months of the statewide ban, which took effect October 1, 2007.

Tom Barrett, the board's Executive Director, told members of the Senate State and Local Government Operations and Oversight committee Monday that the issue needs more study.

"Three months of actual history begs for more analysis. Will it continue at this rate? We suspect there will be a continued drop, but how much we're not sure. Is it seasonal? That was something we also took into account," Barrett told the committee.

The Gambling Control Board conducted the study, along with the Department of Revenue, as part of a requirement included in last year's smoking ban legislation.

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