Sunday, 14 June 2015

New Orleans Casino Loses Millions To The Surprise Of Nobody

It's all so predictable, isn't it?

New Orleans brought in a blanket smoking ban on April 22nd with the promise of clean air, hearts, flowers, and no financial losses to any business. Whatsoever. Just a couple of months later and some results are coming in.
Harrah's New Orleans Casino claims a new citywide smoking ban is to blame for a 16 percent decline in its revenue this month compared to a year ago. 
"We are currently experiencing greater declines from our local business, while casinos in surrounding jurisdictions are enjoying record highs," Harrah's spokeswoman Jade Brown Russell said.
This should hardly come as a surprise; every smoking ban ever installed has caused businesses to fail, but the mendacious tobacco control industry will always come up with some bullshit statistical chicanery to pretend the ban wasn't to blame.

It's a rather grubby and pathetic way to earn a living in my opinion. Their job basically relies on denying what everyone can see with their own eyes and wasting our taxes in doing so.

With casinos though, the dramatic destruction of trade that smoking bans inflict is even more clear cut than in any other sector. We know this thanks to a naturally occurring set of cirumstances when Illinois brought in a smoking ban in 2008 while neighbouring states didn't.
Our estimate for the effect on total revenue for all nine casinos is representative of our general findings: We estimate that the smoking ban is associated with a 20 to 22 percent revenue decline, amounting to a total loss in casino revenue of more than $400 million. This estimate implies that casino revenue in Illinois would have been approximately flat in the absence of the smoking ban (+/- 1 percent), rather than experiencing the 21 percent decline shown in the chart. 
The presence of riverboat gambling in three states adjacent to Illinois provides an opportunity for comparing this finding with the experience of similar casinos that were not subject to the Illinois smoking ban. Using data for gambling revenue at casinos in Indiana, Iowa and Missouri, we find no significant change associated with the adoption of the Illinois smoking ban. The same calculation that leads to our finding of a 22 percent decline in Illinois revenue yields very small increases in Iowa (2.2) and Missouri (1.9) and literally zero percent change in Indiana. Statistically, these estimates are all consistent with no change in revenue. This observation confirms—at least at the statewide level—that the effect we identify for Illinois is unique. Casinos in each of these states suffered roughly the same downturn in economic activity, but only the Illinois casinos suffered the losses that our model associates with the implementation of the smoking ban. 
It couldn't be more stark than this.

SOURCE: State gaming boards of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Missouri

Of course, in New Orleans the usual pre-legislative stages were followed. The ban was proposed, businesses rightly complained that revenues would be affected, but politicians pointed to the junk science tobacco controllers had produced to pretend that everything would be rosy. It's a circle jerk of state-funded liars all intent on getting their pointless bans through and screw the consequences (see also Drakeford and his utterly absurd Welsh e-cig ban).

In New Orleans, their unconditional ban will, like in all other jurisdictions, inevitably lead to job losses - if they haven't started already - loss of gaming duty revenues to fund government programmes, and add to the general drudgery of life. All just to pander to a minority of the most intolerant and selfish in society who simply don't like the smell, and insist that activities they disapprove of are banned, even on other people's property in places they would never have to go.

This is the huge problem I have with tax-sponging tobacco controllers and their venal, cowardly political pets. You see, I'd have much more time for them if they'd admit that bans harm businesses but that health is a priority. If they held their hands up and admitted, "you know what, thousands of pubs are going to shut because of the smoking ban but it's necessary for the public's health" instead of producing purposely misleading 'reviews' after the fact, they'd get respect from me. If they said "yes, raising the price of tobacco will obviously increase demand for fags sold by criminal gangs, but it's a price we have to pay", I'd admire their honesty. And if New Orleans health obsessives told the public what they knew before they bullied the legislation through - that casinos were going to be hit for six - and said "jobs will be lost, your city will have less money for civic services, but you won't have to smell smoke, ain't that great?", then good luck to them, they will have put all the choices on the table.

But they don't because their profession is founded and built on lies. Apparently - unlike everything else in life without exception - there are no downsides whatsoever with anything tobacco control does, only positives. It's a remarkable thing isn't it? The elusive free lunch. Even as extra Border Force officers are recruited to handle the mess tobacco control have created; while police, trading standards and local councils battle to keep control of illicit sales from white van man; and while tens of thousands of pubs shut down directly as a result of anti-smoking extremism; the media agonise as to why such a centuries-old British tradition is dying on its arse; and MPs cry crocodile tears about the loss of community pubs provide, tobacco control still continue to insist that the world is a better place because ... their salaries.

So when Harrah's in New Orleans announced their post-ban results, no-one - including tobacco control - was remotely surprised. They have just become the latest victim of the self-serving, money-grubbing, lie-peddling disease that is global 'public health'.


Brewlady said...

I have always wanted to visit New Orleans. Sadly it's been added to the growing list of places I won't ever travel to. My husband smokes cigarettes and I vape, so if we aren't welcome to vacation with our vices, we'll vacation elsewhere.

nisakiman said...

It's sad that this post is so very accurate. Only a few days ago on my Twitterfeed, @jredheadgirl, who recently escaped from the insanity of California to what she thought would be the relative freedom of New Orleans tweeted thus:

Michael J. McFadden said...

I challenged some of the councilcritters and SmokeFree folks to back up their promises of "no harm" with their own pocketbooks and budgets. Of course they didn't: they knew they were lying.

Atlantic City New Jersey began allowing Casinos in the 1970s or thereabouts. Every year, year after year after year, their money poured in and increased, increased, increased... without a single year of failing! Even while the whole country was shutting down after the 9/11 attack, Atlantic City Casinos STILL managed to make more money for 2001 than they did the year before!

They were UNSTOPPABLE....

... until the smoking ban.

Even though the ban allowed them to still have 25% of their floor space for smoking, the ban marked the first year in history of their money going down. Casino growth pretty much stopped dead, with the one new big casino, a TOTALLY "Smoke Free" one called Revel, going bankrupt within two years or so of opening.

The saddest thing about Atlantic City was that a year or two before the ban I went down there and wrangled a meeting with the second-in-command (?) of the NJ Casino Gaming Assn (or whatever it was called). I gave him a copy of Brains and spiel about how they had to stand with the bars and fight the ban or they'd get hit too... and the guy laughed in my face. With a very condescending tone he "educated" me about the "facts." I.E. that the AC Casinos were "just too BIG" and brought in "FAR too much tax money" for the Antismokers to EVER touch them. I told him how wrong he was, urged him to read the book and pass it on and get back to me, headed back to Philly ... and never heard from him again.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Dick, your blog has given me an idea though. It would be very interesting and educational to graph AC's casino money growth over its 30ish good years, continue the graph showing what happened in the last ten or so, and then show the projected growth rate of the graph withOUT the ban. My guess is that by now they have lost not just millions, but many HUNDREDS of millions, and that the general nonsmoking taxpayers of New Jersey have had to make up for that with higher tax bills and reduced services and benefits.

When I did my graduate work in U of PA's Wharton School, one of the important concepts we studies was the idea of "multiplier effects" in economics. E.G. if you ban cars, you not only close down Detroit's car factories (our big car making city) but you have "ripple" effects from all the car-builders who are out of work and can't spend money and thus close down all sorts of other businesses... along with the road-builders and gas-station operators and the people who build gas-station pumps and the colleges who can't find enough kids able to pay tuition on bankrupt mom 'n dad's tab to the housing industry who sells fewer houses....

"For want of a nail, a kingdom was lost."

If only we had the kind of grant money that the Antis have so we could commission unbiased university studies of the true economic effects of all the bans of the last 20 years: it's quite possible that the Antismokers will eventually go down in history as the force that destroyed the United States. And perhaps the same will be said for Britain too: you haven't been under their thumb for as long, but you've gotten hit more severely in recent years. At least in the US we still have a fair number of states who've resisted some of the antismoking extremes.


Michael J. McFadden said...

Nisaki, I can't see the tweet!

jredheadgirl said...

That tweet may someday get me into trouble someday (being in a band and all some people may take that statement in the wrong way), but that is how it feels for me now. People have been getting held up at gunpoint outside of some bars here since the ban. We (my band) turned down an opportunity to play (regularly) @ one venue for this very reason, as I had witnessed someone (pre-ban) get stabbed multiple times outside of that very same bar. I will NOT stand outside of such a place, and I don't want those I care about to do so either.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

The multiplier effect is used in all economic calculations except for when governments are talking about bans on lifestyles. Then it doesn't exist.

When talking about the 10,000 (+/-) pubs which have closed in the UK since 2007, not only do tobacco control pretend it didn't happen, but they also ignore the associated trades which have suffered too, along with other linked costs that - when fabricating their lies - they like to lump on in their favour with abandon.

I don't say we're on the side of the angels for no reason.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Bah! Facts! It's how you interpret them that matters.

DP said...

I never visit anywhere with overt smoking bans. I used to go Australia but never again after their weasel control freakery tobacco controls and confiscating duty frees.

theprog said...

Like night follows day. Not that they'd ever publish any graph to show proven economic benefits of bans on businesses. Even they'd find that impossible.

Anyway, the zealous puritans will be pleased to see casinos and bars suffer. All part and parcel of their wet dreams becoming reality.

Michael J. McFadden said...

"Not that they'd ever publish any graph to show proven economic benefits of bans on businesses. Even they'd find that impossible."

Prog, give the fanatics enough money and they can make almost anything "possible" with the right combo of juggling and lies. Calculate the economic effects of a new ban on bars and restaurants and you'll almost always find nowadays that you can say, "Our study shows no harm." How? Simple:

Include all the McDonalds and hot dog stands in the restaurant category, or, if really pinched by folks like us, simply count on the overwhelming numbers of even full service restaurants to statistically drown out the suffering of the bars. Remember: your stats can still show harm, but if it's not "statistically significant" then the Antis can tell the public that "officially" they showed "no harm." And, when saying it, they'll pull the Klein/Forster trick of using the phrasing "bars AND restaurants" -- neglecting to mention that bars on their own were decimated.

Or, if you really want to get tricky for something like casinos, dont' count the profits, just count the number of people entering through the turnstile gates! AMAZING! **MORE PEOPLE COME INTO THE CASINOS AFTER SMOKING BANS!** (Well, ok, most of them are smokers who are coming in for the fifth time that day from their smoking breaks, but we'll ignore that factor in our propaganda count and claim them as five separate customers!)


Vinny Gracchus said...

Michael, Thanks for pointing out the inflation of casino goers by recounting the same smpkers coming in from their breaks over and over. And remember before the NOLA ban was enacted that the Louisiana State Police (who regulate the casinos) produced a study that projected losses in casino revenue from a ban (and also recounted losses to restaurants from the previous restaurant ban). Of course the Smokefree lobbyists rejected the study and said there would be no such result. Well now we see there is , as there has been in every location where smoking bans have been forced on businesses by the Antismokers.

Michael J. McFadden said...

I've offered that "Put your money where your mouth is and you'll have your ban passed in a flash." challenge to every ban fight I've seen in the last five+ years and never once had even a ghost of a response from any of the responsible parties. I'll usually wait a week or two and then add a note, apologizing for the possibility that the named parties may simply not read the news, and suggesting that anyone who knows them should point them to the post so they can respond and defend their integrity. Sometimes, particularly in the case of the pro-ban politicians, I'll hit the critters' own political site just to politely let them know that the public might be waiting to see their response over at so 'n so's board. And then, if I think of it, I'll stop back three months later to leave a final not pointing out that after all that effort... they STILL refused to defend their claim that the ban wouldn't hurt business: preferring to leave the lives and livelihoods of the people they've lied to hanging in the balance.


theprog said...

Bottom line is about bums on seats and profits. It's up to individual business or their associations to state the facts. They'll have more muscle to get the data into the public domain in the US.

Over here, virtually no one stood up for publicans before or after the ban. It was like shooting fish in a barrel for ASH and pals, supported by pubcos and scumbags CAMRA etc. And easier because every business was affected, so not much to make comparisons - if the ban had allowed exemptions and compromise, the cause of lost trade/businesses would have been crystal clear. The antis knew this and so pushed for 100% at the eleventh hour.

Of course, they blamed pub closures on the convenient economic downturn. We've seen worse, but pubs usually thrived when times were tough (e.g. the 70's).

Michael J. McFadden said...

Chris Snowdon did some WONDERFUL research about five years ago and produced a table showing pub closures (or income?) vs. differing ban implementation dates for England, Wales, Scotland, and, I believe, N. Ireland. In virtually every case the problems trailed the bans by pretty much exactly the same amounts in the same patterns... totally independent of the raw date or any general economic downturn or cheap booze etc etc.

The excuses are lies, just like all their other lies.


theprog said...

Chris, DP, Frank and a few others have produced very convincing evidence. Problem is, from a very low platform. Another problem is that the largely left wing MSM is the propaganda mouthpiece that has well and truly bought into the SHS shite. Free advertising for the antis no less. Any influential journalist with integrity could blow the whole corrupt house of cards over. Given the opportunity.....

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Yes, I've read about that particular trick before. You described it well. :)