Press Release | Participants | Setting the Critics Straight
Poll | Messages of Support | Bingo/VFW Charities Burned By Ban | Misc


For Immediate Release: May 11, 2005
Contact: Audrey Silk (917) 888-9317


Coming together as a first-ever nationally formed alliance, business associations and citizens' rights groups who have had their private property rights and free will usurped, will no longer help fund the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association or the American Heart Association.

At issue is the charities' relentless pursuit of smoking bans in city and state legislatures all across the country -- ban legislation that the charities themselves very frequently help to write and then promote to the general public. Strongly noted too is that by using their tax-deductible donations for lobbying for legislation they are teetering on the edge of violating the IRS code for charitable organizations.

The ACS, for example, is currently sponsoring a radio and print blitz, urging New Jerseyans to phone their representatives demanding a local ban.  And, according to their own press release, Chicago is next.

Contrary to reports pumped out by smoking ban proponents, these smoking bans decimate mom-n-pop businesses and are intended to make pariahs out of adults engaging in a legal behavior.

Clearly, businesses that hold fundraisers for, and citizens who donate to, these health organizations are giving to groups that then use that money to destroy and attack them.

"No more," says Audrey Silk, founder of NYC C.L.A.S.H. (Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment). "We will stop contributing to Big Nanny. Why do we want to donate to groups that are out to ruin our businesses and demean us as human beings?"

This misuse of funds -- funds that should be dedicated to more research and less "bureaucratic backwaters" -- is apparent to  In ranking the top 100 biggest charities in order of which "spends the public's money wisely" has the ACS coming in at #93.

Jim Avolt, a spokesman for an Ohio business group that's part of the alliance rates it even lower than that.  He points out, "I feel the ACS, the ALA and the AHA should all lose their non-profit status. They were significant financial donors to the pro-ban forces at work in Toledo.  And the irony of it was," Avolt continues, "they were using the same money we'd given them in donations and just handing it right over to our political opponents."

"What's more," Silk adds on behalf of furious smokers, "is that the ACS is also behind demands on state legislatures to make smokers pay more in taxes in order to legislatively control legal human behavior they don't approve of and to fund their increasingly ineffective programs. The states get millions of dollars a year through the Master Settlement Agreement -- a hidden tax already paid by smokers -- but because the states shortchange the ACS programs they want to shake us down for more!"

Incredibly, the ACS is behind taxation without representation when smokers are made to "pay up and get out."

This boycott will continue indefinitely, with more groups and private citizens expected to join in.

But it doesn't mean that members of the alliance won't continue to donate -- just not to those charities. There are thousands of worthy ones out there and they'll be the recipients of contributions instead.  Charities like Make-A-Wish Foundation, Mary Crowley Medical Research Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Shriners Hospital for Children are just a few of the favorites, as are people in dire medical need in each of our own local areas.

The alliance agrees that cancer and heart disease research will not suffer by donating to other same goal charities -- and maybe the trampling of our country's treasured private property rights and the right to be left alone will subside.

*added after release

National:  Smokers Club, Inc.
*National: FORCES
*National: Tobacco Freedoms Organization
*Florida: Florida Rights
*Florida: Florida Smokers
Illinois: Illinois Smokers' Rights
Indiana: Indiana Amusement & Music Operators Association
Kentucky: Kentucky Licensed Beverage Association
Kentucky: Metro Louisville Hospitality Coalition
Massachusetts: Cambridge Citizens For Smokers' Rights
Minnesota:  Smoke Out Gary (Minneapolis)
Minnesota:  Minnesotans Against Smoking Bans
Minnesota: Fight City Hall
*Missouri: Keep St. Louis Free
New York: NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment
New York: Taverners United for Fairness
New York: American Arborist
New York: Madison County Chapter of the Independence Party
*New York:  Manhattan Libertarian Party
Ohio: Lakewood Hospitality Association
*Rhode Island: Rhode Island Rights
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Smokers Action Network
Tennessee: Yes S.I.R.
*Texas: Real Texas Freedom

National: Private citizens

*Canada:  FORCES Canada

Setting the Distorted Criticisms Straight

Example 1:

American Lung Association Boycotted by Smoking Rights' Groups
Lung Diseases Blog
From Stacey Lloyd
May 13, 2005

 ...I am absolutely disgusted by this.  ...And, their reason is because of money?

I especially love the name of Silk's "organization": NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (CLASH). "Smoker Harassment"? Are you kidding me? I'm surprised that the acronym doesn't spell CASH since that seems to be all they are concerned about.



Rebuttal:  If there were a charitable organization-- say the American Obesity Society-- that used its donations to lobby for laws that forbade the overweight to eat in "public" restaurants-- or prescribed that they could only eat carrots and whey, since that would "help" them-- would you honestly expect the overweight people (or the restaurant owner and his dwindling staff)  to continue to give to them? Especially when they added insult to injury by sponsoring ads that demonize the obese? Seems to me CLASH and its buddies are just rationally acting in their own self-interest-- or the interests of civil liberties and property rights, and the general American spirit of equality for all.

I also fail to see any logic to the charge that they're somehow obsessed with money.  If I refuse to donate to a political party because I don't like its politics-- even its politics on a single issue-- it isn't about money, it's about the political issue. Or in other words, I think you're way off base here.

Example 2:

Where There’s Smoke There’s…
Filed under:
Corporate America/Canada
— Barry @ 11:30 am

Honestly, I enjoy a good smoke as much as anyone. Tobacco is one of my favourite drugs.

I do though acknowledge that tobacco kills a lot of people, annoys others, and in general it is a good thing when fewer people smoke in fewer places. I like smoke free bars.

I am always amazed at how the pro-tobacco lobby manages to make themselves look like complete idiots on a regular basis.

Today the NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (and how long did it take them to figure out a name that had “NYC CLASH” as the acronym?) among others are calling for a boycott of donations to major charities, saying their support of smoking bans is a threat to small businesses and civil rights.

Yes, the people who are most likely to get lung and throat cancer are urging us to not support the organizations that fund research that could provide treatment and a cure for these conditions.

“”No more,”” says Audrey Silk, founder of NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, which is leading what appears to be the first-ever boycott of the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Heart Association.

“”We will stop contributing to Big Nanny”", she said. ““Why do we want to donate to groups that are out to ruin our businesses and demean us as human beings?””

Read the article here. I think you’’ll agree that Darwin was right.

One Response to “Where There’s Smoke There’s…”
Bob from the Lung Association of MN Says:
May 14th, 2005 at 4:13 pm

The American Lung Association of Minnesota decided to turn the pro-smoke zealots 10 minutes of fame to our advantage. We posted the AP story on our blog (please visit), the offered viewers a choice: Boycott or Donate online.

Whatya bet donations are up at the end of the month?

Love that CLASH cash!


Rebuttal 1: The point you're missing is that ACS and its sisters are diverting donated money (great fortunes of it, in fact) to political lobbying and media buys -- money they SHOULD be spending on research, but aren't.

Is twisting legislative arms, so that a behavior they don't approve of can be controlled by force of law, the mission of health organizations?? All it really does is create a kind of new and ugly apartheid, cost bars a lot of money, waitstaff a lot of jobs, and force smokers to stay home under de facto house arrest.

If you think that's nifty, by all means give your next paycheck to ACS, but expecting smokers, owners and waitstaff to continue to fund them is like expecting devout Christians to fund Planned Parenthood.


Rebuttal 2: The problem is that the three particular named organizations are spending very LITTLE of their contributions on research for treatments and cures and very MUCH of those contributions on activities and advertising designed to reduce smoking purely by making life more and more unpleasant for smokers.

If I contribute a dollar to the American Lung Association I am generally not intending for it to be used as though I'd contributed it to the "American Social Engineering Association." I am not intending it to be used to "DeNormalize" a quarter of my friends, nor to be used to create an atmosphere in which courts take children away from smoking parents in custody disputes, put my smoking friends on the unemployment roles, get them kicked out of hospitals during courses of treatment, get children beaten to death for smoking or drive them to suicide when they are caught, or any of a number of other things.

I want that money used for RESEARCH to cure the ills not just of smokers but of ALL of us... since, if we live long enough, we are ALL likely to develop lung, heart, or cancer problems someday.

These groups ARE spending a very significant amount of their resources demonizing smokers in various ways when that money COULD be getting spent on research to help all of us.

Think of the last person you know who died of a heart, lung, or cancer problem.  Now think about the fact that they might still be alive if the money spent on TV commercials alienating smokers had instead been spent on basic research that could have helped them.

Example 3:

Briefly put ...
The Roanoke Times
Editorial - May 15, 2005

A coalition of smokers' rights groups, bar owners and libertarians wants a boycott of donations to the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Heart Association.

The charities' offense? They support public smoking bans. To the coalition, efforts to curb second-hand exposure to a leading cause of disease merit the same punishment as apartheid regimes and segregated bus systems.

The world may not have turned upside down, but the moral justifications for economic boycotts have.


Rebuttal:  It's neither surprising nor illogical that "smokers rights groups, bar owners and libertarians" (the latter presumably defending civil liberties and private property)  would stop contributing to charities that use their donated resources to attack all the above

Your editorial, additionally, misses some key points.  There are many ways to "curb exposure to secondhand smoke" (for those who've been carefully taught to fear it) that stop far short of totally banning smokers from all public life. State of the art air filtration comes to mind; or simple signage hung on the bar, restaurant or bingo hall door.

And as long as you're throwing in analogies to Jim Crow, as you did in your editorial, consider, if you will, that the smoke-bans of today raise the ante on intolerance, by even forbidding smokers to have their own ghettos.


Poll Numbers Support Boycott:

Poll comments: Smoking ban controversy
Thunder Bay's Source (Canada)
Web Posted: 5/16/2005 2:29:51 PM

Some American smokers who are unhappy about smoking bans, are urging a boycott of cancer-related charities. Is this an appropriate tactic?

Yes (51.1%)

No (48.9%)

Total votes: 659

Messages of Support

Minnesotans Against Smoking Bans
227 Oak St. S.E. minneapolis, mn 554146
Phone: 612-384-4374 Fax: 651-458-5649

May 19, 2005

The Minnesotans Against Smoking Bans membership joins NYC CLASH in firmly supporting the boycott against the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association. These organizations play on our fears, count on our ignorance and betray our trust continue to lie about the dangers of SHS.

For too long, and wasting far to much taxpayer money and private donations, these organizations have influenced legislation to implement smoking bans instead funding research and supporting those afflicted with disease.

Audrey Silk, founder of NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoke Harassment, gets it right when she asks why we should continue to support groups out to ruin our businesses and demean human beings who choose to use a legal product.

Here in Minnesota, we have requested scientific data from MPAAT, ANSR, the City of Bloomington, Hennepin County and the MDH used to justify a smoking ban. To date, I have not received one scientific study to support their claim that 38,000 lives are lost each year from SHS.

There are many organizations we choose to support including, but not limited to, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Shriner’s Hospital for Children and St. Joseph’s Home for Children.

Sue Jeffers
President, Minnesotans Against Smoking Bans

Robert Hayes Halfpenny
Vice President, Minnesotans Against Smoking Bans



Give Your Money Where It Will Help, not Hurt!

PASAN is proud to add its voice to that of NYCLASH and other Free Choice groups in urging a contribution boycott of the large organized medical "charities" that seek to impose smoking bans upon unwilling populations. The ACS, AHA, and ALA have all devoted a disproportionate amount of their money to regulating the way people choose to live rather than to the sort of basic research that people generally intend their donations to support. As Audrey Silk of CLASH asked, "Why do we want to donate to groups that are out to ruin our businesses and demean us as human beings?"

Donations to small local groups and hospitals are far more likely to be used wisely and to have less lost to overhead or flashy TV ad campaigns. The ACS, AHA, and ALA have all moved beyond the proper boundaries of preventive medicine in their Antismoking efforts, not seeking to merely educate smokers or kids about the dangers of smoking, but instead promoting unreasonable and unwanted universal smoking bans based largely upon falsehoods.

See "The Great Helena Heart Fraud" link from PASAN's home page for a good example of the sort of misinformation that is being used to promote smoking bans. Read "" from that home page to see brief outlines of many other examples of the lies and misinformation that are being used in such campaigns.

Supporting medical research is important. Supporting organized propaganda efforts to influence political legislation and divide people into antagonistic groups is not. Give your money where it will help, not hurt.

Read more:


The Citizen (Auburn, NY), May 23, 2005
Nonprofits are all smoke and mirrors
By Judy Ducayne

Audrey Silk, the founder of NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, feels targeted by organizations like the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Heart Association. These national organizations have used donations to lobby for laws to stop smoking throughout the nation.

Now Audrey Silk and her supporters are planning to boycott these nonprofit organizations.

Silk's strategy may seem a little harsh at first, but not when you begin to understand why she has taken this position.

Smoking is a legal act, and these organizations are accepting donations under the guise of research and development and then channeling away these funds to pursue their own political agenda to stop smoking.

They are also misusing their tax-free nonprofit status to lobby for anti-smoking legislation. This could be crossing over into possible legal and ethical issues.

When donating money, it is assumed that it's being used towards research. Instead, some of these donations were being used to change laws. Restaurant and bar owners, to name a few, were damaged financially when this anti-smoking ban went into effect. The clientele became scarce and didn't produce as much cash flow, therefore damaging mom and pop businesses throughout America.

The majority of us never knew these funds were being used to ban smoking. A huge chunk of cancer, lung and heart fund-raising comes from Silk's supporters. They own the bars, dance halls and taverns that hold benefits to help the families that have been hurt by these kinds of hardships. And the thank you they get is bankruptcy.

Lots of money has been made through these entrepreneurs only to be funneled right into the hands of the ones trying to shut down their establishments: the ACS, ALA and the AHA. How much sense does that make?

It seems absurd to ban a legal act. If it's so bad why isn't it illegal? These same do-gooders rely on smokers because they receive money for their cause with each pack of cigarettes sold. Unknowingly, smokers are already paying a hidden tax to the ACS when purchasing cigarettes.

These anti-smoking agencies need to place proper attention to finding cures and remedies. This should be first and foremost. If they want to change laws, they should be very clear and precise about where and what this money will be used for. If these organizations want to be lawmakers, they need to form entirely different groups to push for their own legislation.

Then donors will be able to make informed decisions when giving their hard-earned dollars to a charitable agency. The public should not have to be private detectives. It should be somewhat obvious as to where their offering is going.

Smoking may be bad, but using deceptive tactics to mislead the public is both bad and illegal!

Bingo / VFW Charities Burned By Ban

Not everyone is familiar with what bingo games are really for.  Sure, it's a game where people go for fun, to socialize and to gamble legally.  But bingo games are run by organizations in order to raise funds for local charities and social services such as little league baseball and volunteer firehouses.

It's also a game that attracts players who happen to smoke.  Without exaggeration, approximately 70% of bingo players and volunteer workers smoke.

Smoking bans have resulted in bingo games being shuttered for good or a reduction in the number of games run because the players won't play if they can't smoke.

The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and people who react emotionally rather than intellectually can cry about how it's wrong to boycott donating to them but what about how their smoking ban drive has deprived other charities of their funds!?!  Are the donees of funds raised at Bingo any less important?

(And how's this for irony:  By law, in NY, 1/3 of bingo raised funds must go to other charities like the ACS).

In addition to urging our readers to donate to other more worthy charities we ask you to consider donating to the organizations hurt by the ACS led smoking ban.  The following stories and evidence will give you an idea of who they are:

Bingo Magazine Relates:

The five time World Champion Empire Statesmen (and Empire Cadets) run bingo games to support their drum corps.

Groups like the Eagles Club and Moose support their lodges and senior and children's charitable activities AND ARE ALSO REQUIRED BY I.R.S. and NY State bingo laws to donate 1/3 of their income to OTHER CHARITIES. So besides their own activities, these fraternal organizations donate to local libraries, Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Heart Associations, Kidney Foundation, etc.

The majority of bingo games in Rochester, NY are for schools, and the towns have Volunteer Fire Department bingo fundraisers.

Since the smoking ban, their donations to such groups has dwindled.


Bingo profits drop sharply
Charities affected by racino, indoor smoking ban
Daily Gazette - June 14, 2008

(Syracuse, NY)  The Cyprus Shriners used to measure their bingo profits in thousands of dollars. Every night would bring in upwards of $4,000 for the Shriners hospitals.

Now they’re lucky to net $1,000 — and more often than not, they lose money, local fundraiser David Gonyea said.

“I think it’s getting marginal at this time,” he said as he surveyed a crowd of about 200 bingo players at the Bingo Palace on Thursday night. “We have few options. There are limited ways we can make money. But we may have to stop doing this.”

The Palace on upper State Street used to have 600 players on a regular night, with games running daily. Now the Palace pulls so few people that the doors stay locked Monday through Wednesday. Barely half the seats are filled on weekends.

But at least people are still playing there. Other venues have seen such a drop in participation in the past four years that they’ve given up the game altogether.

They say they were felled by a one-two punch from the state. First, indoor smoking was banned in the summer of 2003. Six months later, the state allowed video lottery machines at the Saratoga Gaming and Raceway.

Bingo organizers said then that they would persevere. But bingo licenses fell sharply a year later, and the decline has continued.

Only two organizations still run bingo in Schenectady, down from 15 to 20 agencies before the smoking ban. In Albany, licenses are down by half, with seven agencies still trying to raise money through the legalized gambling. Saratoga Springs has four agencies left, down from a high of six.

It’s even worse in Cobleskill, where only two organizations remain on the bingo licensing rolls and one of them canceled all its games this quarter.

The VFW notified the Cobleskill town clerk — who issues bingo licenses — that no games would be offered from March through May. The Cobleskill Elks have carried on, but cut back to two games a month.

That’s more than they’re doing in Schenectady County. The Elks here have given up.

“We don’t have bingo anymore. It really dropped off,” said Rotterdam Elks member Don Russo. “We do other things for charities.”

It’s the charities that really take the hit when bingo is canceled. By state law, the game can only be played if the proceeds go to charity.

The Shriners, youth sports leagues and even churches relied on bingo profits as major fundraisers. But now, they say, the once lucrative game is bringing in almost nothing.


Barbara “Bobby” Jewett of Rotterdam, who runs bingo games at the Palace every Sunday for the Schenectady baseball leagues, said the teams are lucky if they get $200 a week now. They used to take in $2,000 in one day.

“Once they took the smoking away, we really went downhill,” Jewett said. “We lost big time when the smoking stopped.”

At the Bingo Palace, organizers tried to rally by building a glass wall to create a state-approved smoking room. But it didn’t work. The demand for smoking is so low that the entire Palace is voluntarily smoke-free on Thursdays and Fridays now.

“It used to be so crowded in here — if you weren’t here when the doors opened, you didn’t get a seat,” Jewett said. “They started gradually coming back when they built the [smoking] room. We don’t get too crowded.”

She keeps running the games anyway, in hopes of making money for the local baseball teams.

“We try to make money for the kids — that’s why we hope to make money, for these boys,” she said.

But most people are now spending their gambling money at the racino in Saratoga or the more distant Turning Stone Casino, Palace operator Bob Neales said. Smoking is not allowed at the racino, but unlike bingo, smokers can step away from their slot machine without worrying that they’ll miss their chance to win a game.

At Turning Stone, players can smoke, even at the bingo tables. That’s unfair competition, Neales said.

“Give us the same level playing field the racinos have,” he said. “They have free bus trips to the casinos, they can give them all kinds of free things. Our business is cut in half.”

He’s not allowed to offer freebies. Even the charities supported by the bingo games can’t give anything away.

The players who remain faithful to the game say they want to play bingo, rather than wagering on horses or slot machines in Saratoga, because of the charities their money will support.

“Shriners is the only reason I come on Thursday and Friday nights,” said Alex Magiera of Schenectady.

Dottie Goldsmith, who drives to the Bingo Palace from Mayfield every week, agreed.

“I would come here if I knew I was never going to win, because I’m donating to the Shriners,” she said.

Some of her friends don’t feel the same way.

“I know several people who don’t go anymore because they go to the Racino,” Goldsmith said.

The demise of bingo also has a small effect on municipal budgets. Three percent of the profit from each game goes to the licensing municipality, which also keeps 40 percent of the $18.75 licensing fee. The state keeps the rest of that fee, which is charged per event.

However, town and city clerks said they spent so much time inspecting bingo operations and combing through the complicated licensing paperwork that the reduction has had a negligible impact on their finances.


MINNESOTA LEGISLATURE: Report - Smoking ban causes charitable gambling losses
Grand Forks Herald - April 1, 2008

 A statewide smoking ban has cost Minnesota’s charitable gambling industry $100 million a year in revenue, according to a report that confirmed ban opponents’ predictions and raised questions for ban supporters.

Charitable gambling organizations in recent years have experienced a steady, 2.5-percent annual decline in gross receipts, Tom Barrett, executive director of the Minnesota Gambling Control Board, told lawmakers Monday. But in the last three months of 2007 — after the smoking ban went into effect — receipts dropped 12.8 percent from the same period in 2006. The smoking ban caused 7.5 percent to 8 percent of that drop, Barrett said.

A decline of 7.5 percent to 8 percent of gambling receipts amounts to a drop of $95 million to $105 million, the Gambling Control Board concluded.

Charity gambling revenue declined from $1.42 billion in 2003 to $1.22 billion in 2007.

Lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty agreed last year to ban smoking in nearly all public places beginning

Oct. 1. Among organizations that fought hardest to keep smoking were bars and service clubs, such as Veterans of Foreign Wars facilities, where much of the charitable gambling occurs. They warned that without smoking, they would have less business.

The legislation required a study of the smoking ban’s effect on charitable gambling. Barrett reported those findings Monday to the Senate State and Local Government Operations and Oversight Committee.

“Smoking bans appear to cause a permanent drop in lawful gambling,” the report concluded.

Sen. Jim Vickerman, DFL-Tracy, vouched for the statistics. He said charitable gambling receipts are suffering in his area of southwestern Minnesota. He said bars, where charitable gambling is popular, lost customers to their competitors across the border in South Dakota and Iowa after the smoking ban went into effect.


Smoking Ban Creating Havoc on Greenville, Mississippi Bingo Halls
Casino Gambling Web - October 12, 2007

[F]or Bingo parlors, the law is devastating to business.

Bingo parlors are by law required to donate money to charity after expenses, payroll and prizes, and much of that money is needed by the charities the bingo halls support.

Problem is, when they passed the law prohibiting smoking in public places recently, many of these bingo halls saw their participation drop significantly.

The main point in the lawsuit claims that there are exceptions to the smoking ban for casinos and bars, and Hollywood Palace Bingo claims that since they are governed by the same regulations from the Mississippi Gaming Commission as the casinos, they should receive the same exemptions.

What is further bothering the Bingo hall operators is that they give back money to the community all the time and casinos do not.

Alonso Dukes, president and CEO of Hollywood Palace Bingo says, "What they're doing, they're allowing smoking in casinos. They're endorsing casinos. We give away money every single game, casinos don't."

As of now if the law is not changed, many charities are being hurt by the decrease in Bingo playing patrons and only an exception to the law will help start regaining the money that is being lost for these charities.


WAVE 3 Investigates: How the smoking ban has affected bingo halls
WAVE 3 TV - September 14, 2007

LOUISVILLE (KY) -- A man who runs a charity bingo operation says his cause is being hurt by other bingo parlors. The problem stems from the metro-wide smoking ban that went into affect in July.

James Doolin says he's abiding by the smoking ban and he's lost 30% of his bingo customers as a result. What's eating at him more than the ban is the fact other bingo parlors appear to be a little lax in their enforcement. According to the public records we requested, he may have a point.

You can't see it, but James Doolin just about has smoke coming out of his ears.  He's frustrated with the smoking ban, but even more perturbed with other bingo parlors where smoking is taking place.

"They don't care about the law and they sell more packs, they sell more tabs they sell more concessions and they're putting the small people out of business," says Doolin.

Through bingo, Doolin raises money for his Louisville Legends amateur boxing and mentoring program.


Smoking ban helps wring the life out of bingo nights
By Columnist Bill Johnson
Rocky Mountain News - July 14, 2007

I hate to keep harping on this, but this one is personal. The Bingo Mine is going out of business.

I hate the smoking ban. Call this the hate column, if you will. But this thing is ruining people's lives.

And yes, I love bingo.

So we were planning to go Friday night. Friday night bingo might well be bingo nirvana. Other players are extremely nice and welcoming. Mothers wheel in babies. Couples bond over their array of boards, some rubbing the good luck charms they place around their boards before the first number falls.

It turned out, there are no Friday night games anymore. I called Larry Stallcup.

He has owned the Bingo Mine for almost exactly 20 years.

"Oh, it was fabulous back then," Larry Stallcup, now 73 years old, recalled. He would have 170 to 180 people inside, marking boards, every night. "For bingo, even in Lafayette, that is quite a few people."

It remained that way until 1990 when the first of the Black Hawk and Central City casinos opened. He immediately lost some 22 percent of his customers, he said.

Still, business remained steady and quite survivable until last July when the statewide smoking ban went into effect, which he estimates has cost him at least another 18 percent of his clientele.

Evenings over the past year became a wasteland.

And with little revenue coming in, and with a $12,000-a-month lease payment to make, Larry Stallcup, a former police chief of Lafayette, discovered he simply couldn't make it anymore.

He plans to close the place when his lease runs out in March.

"People just are not showing up the way they used to. Is it smoking? It has a lot to do with it. People hate having to step outside to do it. It affected business."

Boulder Swim Team, which ran the Friday night games, got out because of it, he said. Attendance had plummeted.

American Legion Post No. 111 has long run the best games inside the Mine. It still runs a Wednesday noon game, but abandoned its Monday afternoon sessions shortly after the smoking ban hit.

"We lost, I'd say, 35 percent of our players," Gary Force, the post commander, explained. "For a while there, it was really bad. And it was all the smoking ban."

He believes the post has regained now maybe a third of the players lost a year ago, yet the numbers remain not at all what they were before the ban.

You need to know of the Bingo Mine and its demise because it is a very good snapshot of the relative-havoc a bad law, which is the smoking ban, has engendered.

Perhaps many of you are right: Things certainly will equal out.

I just wonder at what cost.

In this case, of course it is only bingo. Yet the people it benefited most were those who the service agencies who ran the games used their scant profits to assist, mostly the young and elderly.


Smoking ban chokes bingo revenue
The Morning Journal - January 26, 2007

LORAIN -- Leaders of the Lorain Senior Center said their bingo game fundraisers have been hit hard by the recent statewide smoking ban, and their building will have to close by this summer if it does not receive additional funds.

''We need it to stay open for the people,'' said Emery Kolbe, president of the Lorain Community Seniors, which runs the center.

He estimated that each week several hundred people use the center, at 3361 Garfield Blvd., for its programs and services.

The center's sole source of revenue is bingo, said Robert Jackson, president of the center's board. Bingo income has declined for two main reasons -- the recently approved smoking ban and a poor economy. The ban, Jackson said, ''cut our bingo about in half,'' and a bad economy has kept people at home.

''Even when they come, they don't spend like they used to,'' he said.


Bingo hall closure a blow to charities
Fort Frances Times - December 20, 2006

(Canada) - “It’s a really sad thing for us. All of the charities really rely on it [Bingos],” said Denise Audette, executive director of the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau and also a board member of the Fort Frances Bingo Association.

[Linda Larocque, vice-president of the Fort Frances Bingo Association] said the reason given for the closure was “economic difficulties” as the number of bingo players has dwindled since the province-wide smoking ban came into effect May 31.

“The bingo hall re-opened on July 21. The first little while it was fine,” she noted, adding patrons could smoke outside the facility.

“We did try to accommodate the players by giving them more intermissions,” added Larocque. “But the decline is due to them not being able to smoke.”

Larocque said 20 local charities will be affected by the closure as these groups use bingos as their primary means of fundraising. These range from the Fort Frances Aquanauts and FFHS band to the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau and Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary.

The bingo hall employ[ed] about 12 staff.


Charities feel the pinch of bingo smoking ban
Montreal Gazette - December 12, 2006

Thomas Mainville runs an organization called Club Via that supports gymnastics programs for disadvantaged youngsters in North Shore La Plaine. His chief fundraising tool for the gym program has always been Friday night bingo games at Bingo La Plaine.

By his estimates he has lost $8,124.89 in bingo revenue, or 21.39 per cent of his fundraising since Bill 112, Quebec’s smoking ban, took effect on May 31. On that date, smoking in public places including bars, restaurants and bingo halls, was banned.

Attendance at bingo events Mainville planned has dropped 9.36 per cent since the smoking ban was enacted six months ago.

“If we keep losing money there will be cuts and some sports programs will be lost. It will be catastrophic.”

Serge Beaudoin, chairman of Jeunes Sportifs Hochelaga in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve said the disastrous shortfalls caused by loss of revenues from bingo fundraising will mean children’s programs will have to be cancelled and Christmas baskets for the poor will be at risk.

“The biggest losers will be the citizens who need these services,” Beaudoin said.


Williston bingo parlor closing; cites smoking ban
Associated Press - November 27, 2006

WILLISTON, N.D.- The Bingo Barn is closing after 20 years, and officials say the state's law that bans most indoor smoking is the reason.

The bingo parlor, which will shut down after its final session on Saturday, supported three charities: the Williston State College Foundation, Williston Basin Skating Club and North Dakota Association for the Disabled.

Officials said bingo parlor revenue dropped after the smoking ban went into effect in August 2005, but the parlor still had to pay more than $100,000 in state taxes for the fiscal year that ended June 30 of this year.


Bingo night over, VFW shuts building
Times Herald Record - October 11, 2006

Port Jervis (NY) — Through the blissful years and even those littered with sadness, the war veterans played bingo.

But this weekly ritual has come to an end at a veterans organization in Port Jervis.

Members of the Roosa-Fleming Post 161 VFW say the statewide public smoking ban more than three years ago caused a crash in their bingo attendance.

The smoking ban cut their income so much that they stopped bingo and are unable to pay the bills on their building on Owen Street.

They will close the building on Nov. 1 and begin looking for a smaller one to hold meetings, members say.

"They've served our country twice — once while they were in the military and then when they came home," said Peter Osborne, executive director of the Minisink Valley Historical Society. "This is really a sad day for all of us."

The Port Jervis post averaged about 100 bingo participants each week, which dwindled to about 40 following the smoking ban, post member Howard Kingdon said. They need at least 65 patrons a week for the post to break even financially.

"Without bingo, there is no way for us to support ourselves or give back to charity," said Kingdon, who named at least five organizations the post donates to annually.

He said many of the members now play at the firehouse in Matamoras, Pa., where smoking is allowed.

But George Rumsey, president of the Matamoras firehouse, said bingo attendance there has been steady, and he hasn't seen a significant increase since the New York smoking ban.

Rumsey said the firehouse averages between 90 and 95 people for bingo on Friday nights. Most of the patrons are from either Matamoras or Port Jervis, he said.

"Bingo is where we made our money," Kingdon said. "People just don't want to go outside for five minutes to smoke."

Dolores Bauer, president of the VFW post's ladies auxiliary, began mailing letters to members last week about the closing.

"I think the state killed us," said post member Al Koreckel . "Bingo kept us going."


Another bingo bites the dust
Crest Bingo closes, charities feel pinch
Edmonton Sun - September 19, 2006

The city's smoking ban has snuffed out another bingo hall - further tightening the purse-strings for organizations that rely on bingos for much of their fundraising.

Among the groups feeling the vice-like pinch are community leagues that will be forced to cut programming while being unable to operate some outdoor hockey rinks this winter, says Shane Bergdahl, president of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues.

"It's hurting. It means they have to find other revenues from somewhere else and cut costs," Bergdahl told the Sun yesterday, pointing out that it costs more than $10,000 per year to operate an outdoor rink. "You're seeing more and more leagues not operating rinks."

Crest Bingo, which ran out of the Beverly Crest Motor Inn at 3414 118 Ave., closed its doors Sunday night.

A volunteer who didn't want to be identified said Crest Bingo just wasn't drawing enough players

In the past year, four Edmonton bingos and one St. Albert bingo have closed down. That leaves 11 bingos - 10 in Edmonton and one in St. Albert, said Ian Taylor of Alberta Satellite Bingo.

Kerry Hutton, a former bingo caller at the Crest, blames Edmonton's smoking ban. He says the city should amend the bylaw and allow a well-ventilated smoking room in each bingo hall.

"It (the smoking ban) has hurt the charities like wildfire," said Hutton. "You and I know that gamblers smoke and drink. If they can't do one or the other, they're not going to go, especially in the winter. If we get a natural Alberta winter, there's going to be two or three more (bingos) going down."

During the first full year of the puffing ban - which kicked in July 1, 2005 - the nearly 600 charities that run bingos in the Edmonton area made $6.1 million, down from $12.9 million a year earlier, according to provincial figures obtained by the Sun.

During the past year, bingo profits in the rest of Alberta - where smoking is generally still permitted - dropped only 1%.


Charities' revenues hit hard by smoking ban
Mississauga News - September 13, 2006

Only a few months into Ontario's smoking ban, organizations that rely on bingo halls for funding are facing their worst fears: Revenue is drying up. Two Mississauga arts organizations have turned to Mayor Hazel McCallion for help.

Dipping into her charity fund, the mayor cut a $50,000 cheque for the Mississauga Symphony and gave $15,000 to the Mississauga Choral Society.

And, they're not the only casualties.

"Revenue is way down; it's going to have a major impact on arts groups and charities in the city," said McCallion.

Since the City funds art groups to the tune of almost $1 million annually, McCallion fears more groups will turn to City Hall for assistance.

"It will have budget implications," she said.

Linda Thomas, executive director of the Mississauga Arts Council (MAC), which doles out grants for arts groups on behalf of the City, said she won't know the extent of the problem until MAC receives next year's applications. That deadline is Oct. 2.

Len Parente, spokesperson for the Committee to Save Charity Bingo (CSCB), said his organization urged the government to help save charity funding and bingos across Ontario by allowing separate, ventilated, designated smoking rooms (DSRs). Pleas were ignored, he said.

Ontario's ban on smoking in public places took effect May 31. As predicted, many smokers are staying away from bingo parlours.

Bingo parlours are among the hardest hit by the ban. According to a survey, 70 per cent of customers want the option of smoking while they play.

Charity bingo serves and is operated by more than 4,000 Ontario charities.


Bingo Profits Plummet Following City Smoking Ban
Edmonton Sun - August 24, 2006

Edmonton-area charities are feeling the squeeze after their bingo profits plummet by $6.8 million in the year following the city smoking ban.

“To have the bingos kind of crash and burn has been a real deterrent to our programs because it’s pretty hard to replace that funding,” said Lorraine Jex, president of the city’s northeast zone sports council.

During the first full year of the puffing ban – which kicked in July 1, 2005 – the nearly 600 charities that run bingos in the Edmonton area made $6.1 million, down from $12.9 million a year earlier, according to provincial figures obtained by the Sun. That represents a whopping 53% drop.

During the past year, bingo profits in the rest of Alberta – where smoking is generally still permitted – dropped only 1%.

Jex said her organization went from making $2,500 a night to pocketing as little as $200.

The money is used to maintain sports facilities like baseball diamonds and to pay registration fees for kids whose families can’t afford to. The sports council runs bingos on behalf of minor hockey, baseball and softball teams in northeast Edmonton.

Jex said so far no kids have been turned away, but her group has been forced to go to local businesses with hat in hand.

“All of that money we don’t have just means it’s that much more difficult to fund some of these kids,” Jex said.

Terry Aikens, manager of the Kensington Bingo Centre, said that, prior to the smoking ban, a charitable group could make $4,000 an evening.

“Now if they can make $1,000 they’re doing good,” she said, adding attendance has also dropped by about 50% at her hall — from 400 to 200 people a night.

She said it’s getting more difficult to convince the 73 charitable organizations that use the bingo hall to continue to do so.

“They’re not making enough money to make it worth their while.”

Overall, attendance at evening bingo dropped an average of 29% in Edmonton over the past year, according to Alberta Satellite Bingo, which broadcasts games live into halls across the province.

Coun. Mike Nickel said the numbers prove the smoking ban is having economic consequences.

“Some people were saying this wasn’t going to affect anyone’s business,” he said. “Well, that’s not the case.

“People who are paying for this in the end, taking the health issue aside, have been the charities.”


Charity bingo: Up in smoke?
Profits fizzle in Ferndale; hall for sale
The Bellingham Herald News - July 20, 2006

(WA) - A Ferndale bingo hall and a third of a local nonprofit's funding may end up as unintended casualties of the state's indoor smoking ban.

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services of Whatcom County listed the Bingo 262 building in Ferndale for sale last month because the bingo hall, a major source of the agency's funding, has seen a 20 percent decrease in attendance and no longer produces significant revenue.

Employees of the bingo hall and domestic violence organization blame falling attendance on a combination of an overall decline in the bingo industry and Initiative 901, which banned smoking inside and around businesses in Washington state.

"This was one of the unintended consequences" of I-901, said organization executive director Kathleen Marshall. "I don't think anyone even thought about it."

The Bingo 262 building, just east of Interstate 5, is owned by the domestic violence agency. It generated about $325,000 in profits last year, but has barely been breaking even since the smoking ban went into effect in December. Marshall said the agency has collected only $5,000 from the bingo hall so far this year.


Smoking ban burns Windsor bingo parlours
CTV Toronto - June 26, 2006

WINDSOR, Ont. — Nearly a month into Ontario's smoking ban, Windsor bingo hall operators say many Michigan customers are staying home.

Business has dropped so much at some bingo parlours that owners are considering layoffs and at least one may close its doors, according to a report Monday in The Detroit News.

"We haven't laid anybody off yet, but we cut our work hours in half,'' said Candice Lagace, a bookkeeper at Paradise Bingo Hall.

"We're all struggling. It looks like layoffs are imminent.''

Bingo parlour operators predicted a drop in customers when Ontario enacted a ban on smoking in all public buildings on May 31.

No specific figures are available on just how many fewer Michigan customers are visiting the bingo halls, but owners contend it's a substantial number.

CBC Bingo Group has experienced a five-per-cent drop in overall business, but as much as 15 per cent at some facilities, said John Fairley, vice-president of marketing.

There have not been any layoffs yet, but Fairley said the company will evaluate the situation at the end of the month.

Windsor's bingo industry employs 400 workers at seven parlours and is worth an estimated $28 million a year.

Nearly half of Windsor's bingo customers are Americans.

Casino Windsor is also feeling the pinch.

"There are fewer people, but it's too early to assess how much of an impact,'' said Teresa Roncon, a spokeswoman for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. in Toronto.

About 80 per cent of Casino Windsor's customers hail from across the border, she said.

Holly Ward, a Casino Windsor spokeswoman, said no workers have been laid off, but the situation will be assessed in a few weeks.


Bingo hit by smoke ban
The Scotsman - June 26, 2006

SCOTLAND - FIVE bingo halls have closed since Scotland's smoking ban was introduced in March, it emerged yesterday.

Operators have reported that profits have slumped by up to 25 per cent as smokers spend more time outside smoking than inside gaming.

Players are also said to be arriving later and leaving earlier.

Sir Peter Fry, chairman of the Bingo Association, said: "It is clear that many clubs will not survive this difficult transition period, with a resulting closure of many clubs and the loss of jobs and social facilities for many local communities."

Clubs have closed in Denny, Kirkcaldy, Edinburgh, Dunfermline and Paisley.

Vogue Bingo in Lanark is due to close in July.


Smoke ban ends bingo, charities struggle
Forcing smokers to butt out may run some charities and non-profit groups dry.
Lloydminster Meridian Booster - June 21, 2006

Canada -- Forcing smokers to butt out may run some charities and non-profit groups dry.
Many non-profit organizations have used the Hi-Roller Bingo Hall in the past to generate funds. Because of a decrease in the number of players and sharp decline of contract renewals, however, the hall will close June 24, eliminating a crucial revenue stream for local charities.

Mary Howard, head of fundraising at the Frenchman Butte Museum, said they relied solely on bingos to raise money and now they are uncertain how they will continue.

“We don’t know what we are going to do,” Howard said. “It’s a huge problem. Other than our grants from the government we have basically nothing.”

In past years, the museum generated as much as $6,000, but last year they only made enough to pay some bills, Howard said.

“Last year we had enough to pay for the power and gas,” Howard said.

Many charities in the Midwest are feeling the same pressure as the Frenchman Butte Museum. Grant Biebrick, president of Lloydminster SPCA, said they had previously relied on bingo revenue, but have had to shift their focus to other events.

“There was a noticeable drop with the banning of smoking,” Biebrick said. “We used to be able to make $3,000 on a Tuesday night, but the last one we made only $400 dollars on a Saturday night.

“We have had to really maximize the events that we do have. Back in the day a combo of dinner, theatre, and bingo kept the bank open. But it won’t anymore.”

The Lloydminster Cancer Society is in a similar situation. While Relay for Life provides the funds to keep the society functional, profits have shrunk at bingo from $30,000 to $11,000 in 2005. Gwen Rempel, unit manager at the Lloydminster Canadian Cancer Society, said they held their last bingo June 2 and won’t hold another one.

“We had made the decision a few months ago to not renew our contract,” said Rempel. “We don’t have anything else to replace the bingos.”


Smoking ban limits donations
Gloucester County Times - June 4, 2006

MONROE TWP. -- About a half dozen American Legion members sat around an old picnic table behind Post 252 Friday, despite the humid heat.

Inside, the air conditioner was keeping the bar cool -- but out here, they can smoke.

Thanks to new state legislation prohibiting smoking in all public places but casinos, this American Legion post lost approximately $5,000 in bar income during the month of May, said Commander Joe Reed.

The post has a gaming license that allows them to operate a couple of Pull-Tab gambling machines, and the income from them is down about the same amount, Reed said.

Three-quarters of all the money brought in through the Pull-Tab machines goes to charity, he said. Last year, the post contributed approximately $90,000, but this year, Reed said, with the smoking ban cutting post income, the donations, too, will suffer.

"People are having a couple of drinks. They get tired having to go outside (to smoke), and leave," Reed said.

"There are no (new) non-smokers coming in, and smokers are just not coming," he said. In fact, he said, non-smoking members often join the smokers outside, since the camaraderie is an important part of why they come.

Within the past year, the post installed several "smoke eater" air filters that cost nearly $4,000 each. Several members said the air in the bar was greatly improved then.

"People are outside and not playing the (Pull Tab) machines," said Bill Cipollone.

The post's 2005 donations went to local sports teams; scholarships; programs for needy families, fire, emergency medical services and police; the county Veterans Cemetery Honor Guard; the Vineland Veterans Home; the American Cancer Foundation; the township food bank; and even $15,000 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief.

"Everything's going to suffer if we keep going down," Reed said.

"They came into our house and told us we can't smoke? That's bull," said Service Officer Mike Strackbein, who is a non-smoker.


Smoking bans hurt bingo parlors
Associated Press - April 23, 2006

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The North Dakota Association for the Disabled says their 2005 earnings were down nearly 30 percent from 2004 because of smoking bans.

The NDAD, based in this city, was able to offer financial aid to disabled people who couldn't get similar help elsewhere until last summer.

Smoking bans enacted by the state and city last August dealt a crushing blow to NDAD's three bingo parlors, which have many smokers as customers, the organization says. The parlors had been the main source of funding for NDAD.

Bingo earnings last year were down to $884,000, nearly 30 percent lower than in 2003 - and that's with two quarters' worth of higher than expected earnings. During the third quarter, when the smoking bans started, earnings began dropping.

NDAD's three bingo parlors together earned less than $7,000 in the final quarter. The Bingo Palace in Grand Forks actually reported a loss of nearly $40,000. In the same period a year ago, the three parlors earned nearly $250,000.

Earnings could be far worse this year than last year.

"We've had some setbacks (in the past), but nothing quite this devastating," said president and co-founder Ron Gibbens.

The financial aid budget is assuming the worst. For 2006, it expects to provide only $146,000 worth of aid compared to $753,000 in 2004.

"It's been tough telling people we can't help them with direct assistance," said Jeri Hietala, an NDAD case worker. "All of a sudden, our budget was gone.


Smoking ban creates mixed responses
The Minot Daily News - February 16, 2006

ND - The Williston State College Foundation is debating how long it can keep conducting bingo in Williston. Revenue took a nosedive following a statewide ban on smoking in public places last August.

At the VFW hall in Anamoose, bingo continues to go strong. A self-imposed smoking ban a few years didn't put a dent in income. Attendance actually picked up, VFW member Duaine Dockter said.
The mixed response to smoke-free bingo is typical across the Minot region.

Sites that have voluntarily gone smoke-free are doing well, while those forced to make the change are struggling.

The North Dakota Association for the Disabled, Grand Forks, is looking at requesting legislative relief, possibly in the form of reduced gaming taxes, to survive the financial hit.

NDAD reports a 97 percent overall drop in net income at its sites in Minot, Grand Forks and Williston. Minot's Bingorama income is down nearly 74 percent. The Bingo Barn in Williston is down 4.5 percent on Saturdays when NDAD sponsors the gaming.

The WSC Foundation leases the NDAD's Bingo Barn on Fridays and the Williston Basin Skating Club has it on Tuesdays.

"I used to run bingo in the afternoon on Friday for the college foundation, and I had to close," gaming director Roseanne Marquez said. "We weren't making it. And my evenings for the foundation and the skating club have dropped at least 35 people, which has really, really hurt us bad."

The skating club typically sees a $13,000 to $15,000 profit in its fourth quarter from bingo. Last year, after the smoking ban, the club made $3,000 for the quarter.

"We are just barely staying afloat with it ­ to the point where I don't know if we can even continue with bingo," she said.

John Axtman, skating club president, said with the drop in bingo income, the club will have to add another event to its fundraising schedule for the year.

The bingo money supports the varsity hockey program, which the club runs for the high school. Axtman said if income fails to come back in bingo, the club could be looking at raising the fees for varsity players.

For now, the club is increasing the advertising for its bingo to try to spur higher attendance, he said.

The WSC Foundation's bingo money goes to scholarships and other programs that support the college, Marquez said. Its bingo is barely breaking even, she said.


Association for the Disabled says smoking ban costly
Associated Press - February 1, 2006

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The North Dakota Association for the Disabled is asking state lawmakers to allow smoking in bingo halls or give them a tax break.

The association, which uses bingo hall proceeds for programs for people with disabilities, said its bingo hall operations in Grand Forks, Minot and Williston have been hurt by statewide indoor smoking restrictions that took effect last August.

The association took out $300,000 from its reserve fund and eliminated 12 full-time positions in the state to reduce expenses, President Ron Gibbens said.

Association members met with legislators in Grand Forks and Minot this week to talk about the problem.

Gibbens said the association's bingo hall proceeds dropped 39 percent in the last three months of 2005.

"If it continues, we're going to have to continue reducing services," he said.

Gibbens said so-called "high rollers" who are smokers are going to casinos in Minnesota where they can light up.


Smoking ban last straw for charity Bingo parlor
Associated Press - January 27, 2006

Oregon - A bingo hall that raised money for Big Brothers and Sisters for more than 25 years has closed, a victim of competition from card rooms, Indian casinos and finally, the state's smoking ban.

Declining revenues forced Big Brothers Big Sisters Bingo to close its facility on North Monroe Street near the Spokane County Courthouse, the organization announced Wednesday.

Bingo once funded the majority of the child-mentoring organization's operations...

The hall employed about 30 part-time workers and seven full-time managers, Wells said.

The organization mentors more than 770 children in Spokane and Kootenai County in Idaho by matching them with carefully screened adult volunteers.

The state's ban on smoking in public facilities, which was approved by voters in November and became law in December, played a part in the board of directors' decision to close the bingo hall, Wells said.

The building had been divided into smoking and nonsmoking sections. But the new ban forced patrons into the parking lot to smoke.


Bingo smoking ban hurting, food bank says
CBC - January 10, 2006

Canada - The Prince Albert Food bank says a drop in bingo revenue is causing serious financial hardship.

The charity has plenty of food in the larder, but it also has payroll and utilities to pay and it relies on bingo revenue to cover those expenses.

However, according to the organization's president, Ron Bergen, the province's no-smoking law has driven people from the bingo halls that provide it with a major source of revenue.

Since Jan. 1, 2005, the province has banned smoking in all indoor public facilities, including bars, restaurants, casinos and bingos.

He expects the food bank to lose as much as $50,000 from its $140,000 budget this year and that could mean major changes for the charity, Bergen said.


Bingo halls decry city smoking ban
CBC - January 3, 2006

Canada - Edmonton bingo halls and some bars say business has dropped by up to 50 per cent in the six months since the city imposed a no-smoking bylaw in all public places.

Since July 1, when the ban came into place, 19 bingo halls in the city have shut down. While some of the closures are attributed to waning interest in the game, operators say most were adversely affected by the smoking bylaw.

"Last month's pool, with the cold weather, we lost $90,000 for that month," Susan Moore, who runs Parkway Bingo, said.

Bingo operators say the payout to local charities and clubs has dropped by at least 50 per cent over the past six months, while crowds are down about 25 per cent.


Last Call for Saferide?
NBC 15 - December 31, 2005

(Madison, WI) - In 16 years the Saferide program has provided 100,000 cab rides home for those who've had a few too many drinks at the bar.

But Barb Mercer-President of the Dane County Tavern League- is warning it could be last call for Saferide if they don't see an increase in donations. "At this point we have approximately two months of funding left to keep the program running."

"Has there been some abuse [repeat users]? Over the years probably," admits Rick Nesvacil, General Manager of Madison Taxi.

Nesvacil thinks the funding problem has more to do with the lack of contributions coming from the bars. "I think the smoking ban had something to do with it. There's always a consequence for lack of revenue."

Mercer says they are applying for a $10,000 grant from the state, and they have a major fundraiser set for January.

*(so now the everyday taxpayer has to make up for the loss created by the Big Charities)


Charitable gambling group says smoking ban hurts
Associated Press - December 30, 2005

The North Dakota Association for the Disabled says its charitable gambling proceeds have been cut in half and it has been forced to eliminate 10 staff positions since a statewide smoking ban took effect in August.

The association's president, Ron Gibbens of Grand Forks, said the organization had to cut $500,000 from its programming budget. Much of its gambling income comes from bingo, and the smoking ban includes bingo halls.

The association is looking at options to present to the 2007 Legislature to ease the effect of the law, Gibbens said. One possibility would be an exemption or reduction in state taxes on gambling in smoke-free environments, he said.

The association saw an immediate drop in the number of bingo players after Aug. 1, Gibbens said, and a further drop during the winter.

"Our problem is about 80 percent of our gaming income has been from these two bingo halls in Grand Forks and Minot. We also have one in Williston one day a week. The Williston one is not as bad. There's a little drop but not as significant," he said.

Gibbens said the drop in charitable gambling means the association cannot help as many clients as it did earlier. In the past when other agencies were not able to help, the association would step in.

Smoking bans have closed down many bingo halls across the country, Gibbens said.


Smoking ban taking its toll on bingos and charities
Edmonton Examiner (CA) - December 14, 2005

Under the ‘B’ – bust.

That’s the Federation of Alberta Bingo Association’s (FABA) take on the city of Edmonton’s no-smoking bylaw, which eliminated puffing from city bingo halls July 1.

“There are over 600 charities in Edmonton and it’s really hit hard here. There’s about an 80 per cent drop in profits – we’re talking take home to the charities,” says Bill Graham, president of FABA.

I thought people loved bingo so much that no matter what, they would still be going. I never would have believed it would have such an impact,” [Elisa Irlam, director of training for Wester Guide and Assistance Dog Society] says.

Paul Schmidt, president of Edmonton Minor Hockey Association (EMHA), says the smoking bylaw has been devastating for would-be little Gretzkys.

EMHA runs the hockey programs with leagues fundraising individually, and Schmidt says he knows they have been impacted as there are 10 to 15 fewer teams playing this year than last.

“I think the economics has a big thing to do with it. The Northeast Zone (Sports Council) has been really hard hit,” he says.

He says close to 300 people were registered with the zone and a portion of bingo funds raised went toward paying sports dues for athletes in one of the city’s less affluent areas.

“These kids are not playing hockey and they won’t be playing ball or soccer or things like that. Where they used to put $50 a bingo into this trust fund – they are lucky if they make $50 a night,” he says.

Schmidt’s own dwindling bingo fundraising efforts for a summer hockey league has forced the group to pull out of working at Palms Bingo.

“It had gotten down to the point where our pooling cheque in October was about $250 bucks a night and that’s for 14 people working. It looks like we’re down at least $30,000 and the parents are going to have to come up with that,” he says.

Russ Dahms, executive director of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, says there’s no question some leagues rely on bingo revenue to cover operating costs, and with bingo revenues slipping, it’s hard to know what the ultimate impact on community leagues and the services they provide will be.

“It’s been devastating and the thing that irks me is these are the grassroots volunteers. These are not the high-profile associations ... These are the people who are working down and dirty every bingo to try to keep the programs going. I just think our elected people have just missed the boat on this... and I don’t think they care about the little people,” he says.


Dog school is destitute
Charity could be forced to shut down
Edmonton Sun (CA) - December 7, 2005

Faced with the threat of closing its doors, a cash-strapped Edmonton charity that trains dogs for the blind and disabled is appealing to the public for donations.

Western Guide and Assistance Dog Society has 20 dogs in training, a new litter on the way and a waiting list of 15 clients.

But all of that is in jeopardy if the group can't scrape up enough cash to remain in operation, said founder and director of training Elisa Irlam.

Irlam said funding has always been tough. "We're just the little guy," she said.

But declining bingo revenues since the city's smoking ban took effect on July 1 have really taken a toll. She said bingos used to bring in between $4,000 and $7,000 each month. That's now dropped to $2,000 a month.


Bingo hall revenues go up in smoke
Charities receive $1.6M less than normal
Star Phoenix (Canada) - December 5, 2005

City bingo halls have been enjoying cleaner air for a year and a half, but revenues continue to go up in smoke, leaving charities to scramble for funds.

Bob Dybvig, City of Bridges Bingo Association representative, said between July 1, 2004, when the city smoking bylaw went into effect, to June 30, 2005, Saskatoon's bingo halls earned $24 million -- approximately $8 million less than the previous year.

In roughly the same time, three of the city's seven bingo halls were forced to close because of low attendance.

Because of the decrease, about 250 charities, sports teams, service clubs and bands which collect bingo revenue, received almost $1.6 million less than they normally would.

Dybvig said charities were further affected when Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) allowed bingo halls to do revenue-sharing for the first seven months after the nosmoking ban.

Normally, Dybvig said bingo halls pay 20 per cent off the cost of each paper to charities.

But with revenue-sharing, "you take all the money in, you pay off the prize board, you deposit all the rest in the bank account until the end of the month, and then pay the power bill, the lease agreement, the telephone, etc.," he said.

"Whatever is left in the bank account . . . you take that 'x' amount and divide it up among all the charities."

During the period of revenue-sharing, charities lost an additional $1.2 million.

Bingo halls began handing out 20 per cent again in February of this year.

The Blackstrap Youth Camp, which has been running for about 40 years, may be cancelling its 2006 camp because of the dwindling number of dabbers.

Len Britton, president of Saskatoon Youth Development Complex Inc., which organizes the camp, said the smoking bylaw is "at least part of" the reason for lower bingo participation.

"That's what people seem to think, and I don't have any evidence to dispute that, so that's probably a factor."

Britton and the organization are part of the Knights of Columbus.

Many of the 600 to 800 campers that attend the summer camp come from single-parent homes, or inner-city schools, said Britton.

He added he thinks camps are important because of the attention, support, and lessons they provide to kids.

"There's a counsellor for every six kids. We always get parents sending us letters to tell us the camp has changed their child's life."

An appeal has been made for donations from individual Knights to make up the shortfall of cash.

Joanne Senebald, general manager of Downtown Bingo, said she doesn't think attendance will ever completely bounce back to what it used to be before the no-smoking bylaw.

"It's still hurting business," she said. "People are not staying as long as they used to stay to play bingo. Instead of people staying for, let's say, three hours, they stay for an hour."

A spokesperson for SLGA said they do not keep attendance records, instead each bingo hall tallies its own numbers. Dybvig said the lack of revenue is a concern to both the bingo halls and the charities. "It makes it pretty tough around here." He said some charities have given up on bingo and have started to look for other sources of funds.


Smoking ban affecting businesses both good and bad
Associated Press - October 30, 2005

North Dakota's new anti-smoking law has struck up more business at a bowling alley here but has snuffed out profits at a bingo parlor.

The Bingo Palace is losing "significant amounts of money," said Ron Gibbens, president of the North Dakota Association for the Disabled, which runs the bingo parlor. His customers have been heading to East Grand Forks, Minn., to spend their money, he said.

The bingo parlor used to make up to $40,000 a month but now it's in the red, Gibbens said. He said it's hurting the organization's disabled clients, which no longer get money for taxi rides.


Ashland Emergency Fund in crisis: 18-year-old charitable group crippled by recent drop off in fund-raising
Metrowest Daily News - October 11, 2005

ASHLAND (MA) -- Crippled by stagnant fund-raising revenue and facing more calls for assistance, the Ashland Emergency Fund finds itself in a crisis of its own.

The Ashland Emergency Fund likely will not be able to help as many of those neighbors in need as in years past, crippled by a stagnant bingo fund-raiser and donations that have plateaued. The 18-year-old fund will not be able to support as many causes as in the past, said chairman John Ellsworth.

"We have no choice but to scale back," said Ellsworth. "We have to react to reality. It's very hard to acknowledge."

Two years ago, the Emergency Fund had a bank balance of about $155,000, Ellsworth said. One year ago it was $119,000, but now it is about $80,000.

From January to August, donations were $8,605, while expenditures were $53,827.

Much of the dip is due to a bingo night, weekly on Wednesday at 7 at the former Gamewell building on Pleasant Street, which does not draw the crowds it once did.

Previously a combined fund-raiser evening with the Campership Coalition, the Emergency Fund Bingo attendance took a nose-dive after the state smoking ban took effect in spring 2004. In March, the fund started going it alone on a bingo night, but attendance has not improved.

At a meeting Oct. 3, members agreed they have to be more critical when reviewing cases until the fund gets a boost, Ellsworth said.

The fund is built around helping people in town. According to its bylaws, it aims to provide emergency financial support for residents who find themselves in need, who are unable to resolve that need without assistance, and who are unable to get that assistance from state, federal or other sources.

Two years ago, the fund helped a family pay rent, heat and electricity bills while the father was treated for cancer and unable to work. Last year, the fund supported a family when the father had been laid off.

"In all cases we were able to save a family and keep them in town. We can't do it all anymore," said Ellsworth. "It's amazing when you can recover your self-esteem."


Smoking bans hurt, charities say
Associated Press - September 28, 2005

ST. PAUL (MN) - Less than six months after smoking was banned in Bloomington bars, South Town Bingo closed for good two weeks ago.

Business started to fall off as soon as the smoking ban took effect, said Jim Algeo, president of the crime prevention association that ran the bingo operation. He estimated that about 70 percent of the bingo players smoked.

"They stayed away in droves," Algeo told lawmakers on the House State Government Finance Committee Tuesday.

Algeo and other backers of charitable gambling -- pull-tabs, bingo and other games -- told lawmakers Tuesday that smoking bans have hurt their businesses in Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

"We've never seen anything like this," said King Wilson, executive director of Allied Charities of Minnesota. "The charities are being devastated in Hennepin and Ramsey."


Charities pay to work bingo
Edmonton, Canada - September 15, 2005
(As reported by charity worker Jerry Deboer)

In the second month of the smoking bylaw some of Edmontons charities are being asked to pay back the losses in their pooling. This is how this works. Bingo associations are the medium with which charities do business. If the association closes all charities within must pay losses or reap the benefits. Because of the smoking bylaw many associations pools are in trouble as customers are not coming to play bingo and if they do they come just before the regular games begin and go outside to smoke when a break comes. The result is less sales of early bird, bonanza, odd even, satellite and other extra games, various associations may have. These extra games are a large part of where the money going to the charities comes from. This situation is only going to get worse as winter comes on and the few customers we have don't come because they don't want to smoke outdoors. A.G.L.C. has bingo on a fixed fee which covers the expenses, the remainder is the amount going to the pool to be divided at the end of each month. Even a look at association books says things are o.k. but the pool (return to charities) is not.  The only thing that will help the charities is if city council pays us for our losses or the smoking bylaw is amended to allow a closed off non-smoking room as a number of halls already have. My charity has already stopped donations to children's programs. I know of one charity in my association that has already pulled out, many more to come I think. This will result in more bingo hall closures, job losses and more charities not being able to meet the needs of the community, higher costs to the consumer of children's programs therefore less children in programs as parents wrestle with rising costs. Charities do not have and may not use charitable monies to hire lawyers and do battle with governments, we need big time help.


Charities: Smoking Ban Affects Charitable Gambling
WCCO TV - August 26, 2005

Bar owners have long criticized smoking bans for costing them customers. Now, some charities are arguing that fewer customers also mean less money for charitable gambling.

[King Wilson, executive director of Allied Charities of Minnesota said], "...smoking bans are hurting charitable gambling operations."

Wilson spoke Thursday night to about a dozen representatives of charitable gambling organizations at the Bemidji American Legion in Beltrami County, which has a smoke-free ordinance.

Ken Brandt of the Bemidji American Legion said charitable gambling receipts dropped by half since the smoking ban was adopted.

Wilson argues that falling sales have a compound effect on charitable gambling.

"If sales drop 25 percent, then lawful purposes expenditures will drop even more as bottom-line expenses continue," he said.

He cited falling revenue in Hennepin County, which has a full smoking ban for bars and restaurants.

"In looking at pull tab and other charitable gambling activities for April and May in Hennepin County, sales are down 20 percent," Wilson said.


Smoking Ban Hurts Bingo's Future
R News - August 3, 2005

One of Rochester's [NY] favorite pastimes is in jeopardy because of the state's smoking ban. Area bingo halls say they are having a tough time staying in business without smokers.

The numbers at Bingo World in Greece, don't always matter to Terry Hess. For her, the gamble is more than just a game.

"I come out to get out of the house. It's a good pastime," says Hess.

Lately the numbers haven't been good for several bingo halls in Rochester. Five say they are struggling. They blame the state's smoking ban. When the smokers left two years ago, so did some of the business.

Janet Vargas' favorite hobby now faces an uncertain future.

"That do upset me a lot, it does upset me. I want them to still have bingo," says Vargas.

At least one bingo hall in Rochester plans to close because of the smoking ban. Northwest Bingo Center on Driving Park will shut down later this month.

Bingo World is still surviving, but the loss of business has hurt the schools and charities that rely on bingo for fundraising.

Bingo World manager Ann D'Aurelia also worries about those who rely on bingo for more than just money.

"A lot of our people especially during the day are elderly. This is their out, they come here with their friends," says D'Aurelia.


Under the B, belly-up: Smoking bylaw wipes out bingo hall
Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal - July 12, 2005

There will be no more jackpots at Intercity Bingo Palace, and the owners blame the city’s smoking bylaw for closing their doors.

The bingo hall hosted its last game Saturday night after 15 years under the ownership of Brent Waruk and his wife Mavis.

“Every hall has a true, loyal customer base, and there were a lot of tears Saturday,” Waruk said Monday. “It was almost like a funeral.”

Nearly 300 people came to the bingo hall every night in its heyday, when it was set up in the Cochrane and Dunlop building at 11th Avenue and Fort William Road.

After the Thunder Bay Charity Casino opened in 2000, that number dropped to about 200 a night. Since last year’s smoking bylaw came into effect, attendance dropped by half again.

A survey taken before the bylaw was enacted showed that 92 per cent of the hall’s clientele were smokers, Waruk said.

A lot of those players stopped coming to the hall, or went to the Mountain Bingo Centre at Fort William First Nation, which is exempt from the bylaw, Waruk said.

“We thought maybe they’d come back when it warmed up, so they could stand outside comfortably,” said Mavis Waruk. “But they didn’t.”

The Waruks moved the hall to the Thunder Bay Labour Centre, which is about two-thirds the size of the original location, to cut costs, Waruk said.

Even so, it became harder and harder for the owners to keep up with rising taxes, utilities costs, licensing fees and prize costs.

“With bingo, you have to bring in $3,000 to pay the prizes . . . and if you don’t have enough customers, you have to pay anyway,” she said.

“It was just a losing venture. It would not come back.”

The decline also meant less money for the charities that would benefit from the bingo proceeds.

“They used to make $1.2 million a year, and now they’re losing money,” Waruk said.

More than 50 charities had worked with the bingo hall over the years since it opened. Some of them, like the Red Cross, pulled out in the last year because they weren’t making money, he said.

Other bingo halls are struggling since the smoking bylaw kicked in. Attendance has dropped 30 to 35 per cent at Thunder Bay Community Bingo’s two locations, said president Joe Myslicki.

“The people who pushed for the non-smoking bylaw said it would entice non-smokers to come to bingo halls,” he said. “Unfortunately, they have not come.”


Charities: Smoking ban snuffed income stream
Sun Newspapers - July 7, 2005

Bloomington, MN - Charitable organizations in Bloomington are seeing their revenue drop since Bloomington banned smoking in virtually all public places, including bars and bingo halls.

That’s the word that Jim Algeo brought to the Bloomington Advisory Board of Health last week.

He said he understands the intent of the ban – he’s an ex-smoker, except for an occasional cigar – but he said the impact on the ground is dwindling resources for valuable community efforts.

For example, he said, the Bloomington Crime Prevention Commission has seen its overall revenue drop dramatically in recent months, despite having just completed its annual “Book ‘Em” used book sale, Algeo said.

Algeo, who’s slated to become BCPA executive director, told the Health Board that the organization’s future is in doubt. BCPA is supported in part by proceeds from a city bingo operation where smoking is now banned.

Revenue from that gambling operation has fallen precipitously, Algeo told the board.

In addition, the American Legion and its Auxiliary, Eagles Club and other city organizations have seen dramatic decreases in revenue since the ban went into effect March 1, said Algeo, who is a candidate for the City Council.


Smoking ban: Lost sales are cited in 2nd legal challenge
Star Tribune, May 21, 2005

Minneapolis, MN - The lost business is hurting charitable gambling as well, said Michael Kuduk of the Lions Club. He estimated revenue losses of about 25 percent. [Attorney Randall] Tigue argues that the lost gambling revenues are "damaging the public interest" by reducing funds that could go to social service agencies.


Dateline-Chatham, Ontario
August 6, 2003

Its one big ripple effect" Stacy Gostick,manager of Bingo County in Wallaceberg, Ontario on the effects of the smoking ban, quoted in the Tuesday edition of the Chatham Daily News.

The Tuesday edition of the Chatham Daily News carried a story on how the recent smoking ban impacted local charity bingos.  (Bingo revenues up in smoke). Although the brunt of the losses has been felt by charities that rely on bingo revenues, Miss Gostick pointed out other collateral damage from employees to taxi companies that have been impacted by the smoking ban.  In June alone 4 scheduled bingos were cancelled because of lack of attendance.

Marty Carroll, manager of Bingo County in Chatham says the impact of the smoking bylaw in Chatham has been" significant to say the least." Carroll told the Chatham Daily News:" Some of the charities are hurting significantly. We're seeing a decrease of $35,000-$40,000 a month."

Rob Dowd, the owner of the Riverview Bingo Palace in Chatham said business is down 30% since the smoking ban was imposed.

Mike Luckham, the director of the Ridgetown bingo hall puts his loss at 25%.The Ridgetown bingo is owned and operated by: The Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, the Knights of Columbus in Ridgetown, the Blenheim Optimists Club, and the Highgate Lions.

Carroll puts the total monthly losses by bingos in the Chatham-Kent region impacted by the anti-smoking bylaw at a whopping $584,000 a month.  This includes two bingo halls in Chatham, one in Wallaceberg, and one in Ridgetown.

One charity, the Kent Athletic Youth Organization (K.A.Y.O), an amateur boxing club for children has seen its entire $2,000 month budget vanish because of the effect of the smoking ban on bingo revenues. Floyd Porter, the director, said the kids are heartbroken at the prospect of the club having to fold.


5 groups sue city over smoking at bingo
Plaintiffs failed to get their exemptions approved
Toledo Blade – June 12, 2004

Toledo, Ohio - Adams Township Post 553 of the American Legion, 206 South Byrne Rd., enforced the no-smoking ban at its twice-a-week bingo games.

However, Jesse Pippin, adjutant and the post's bingo chairman, said attendance suffered because of it. The post held its last bingo game Thursday night.

"We followed the law, but lost so much money that we couldn't continue. We ended up paying more money out that what we brought in," Mr. Pippin said.


Charities lose out as low attendance forces games to close
Times Herald Record, January 25, 2005

New York - ...But for the past six months, Stanton's been doing more cleaning of her spotless home with products like Fantastik and Clorox Wipes than playing bingo with charms like her "Eunice Loves Bingo" Indian doll and a beaded purse with a cross inside.

"I haven't been to bingo since, oh God, I don't know when," she said recently, puffing a Parliament cigarette in her kitchen with the gleaming powder blue walls and an "I Love Bingo" sticker on the fridge. This was just before she played for the first time in ages.

Eunice Stanton isn't the only bingo buff staying away from the game.

From firehouses and synagogues in Sullivan County to churches and Elks' Lodges in Orange County, many bingo games are going belly up. Other spots, like the White Lake Firehouse, have seen attendance cut nearly in half.

Bingo isn't just taking a hit here. Revenues in New York State are down $18 million from 2002 to 2003, according to the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. That's a drop from $133 million to $115 million.

"Bingo just isn't cutting it," says Ed Cummings, who's run bingo at the Middletown Elk's Lodge for the past 23 years and has seen his bingo fund of thousands of dollars evaporate to zero.

Why are so many bingo games going bust?

Stanton is "absolutely" certain it's because of the no-smoking law that went into effect in July, 2003.

"I never cared about winning or losing," says the woman who says she won the largest "Share the Wealth" jackpot of $500 at the White Lake Firehouse. "I just loved to smoke, drink coffee, and play bingo. It's the most relaxing thing I do besides clean my house."

But less bingo doesn't "just" mean fewer nights of talking the bingo talk by calling B-1 "little stumpy," or B-11 "chicken legs" – or less chances to walk the bingo walk by sticking those magic marker-like daubers on your forehead for good luck.

Since bingo profits must go to charity, there's less money to pay for a Liberty rabbi's salary; fewer funds for a jaws of life in White Lake; dwindling dollars for a $7,500 college scholarship at the Elk's Lodge in Middletown.

Even though the state is trying to breathe new life into bingo by upping the night's jackpot to $3,000 and carrying over prizes to the next session, there's really no relief in sight.

There won't be until – or if – things change. That could mean repealing the no-smoking law. Or reducing Internet gambling.

Until those changes are made, what will a recovering player like Eunice Stanton do?

"Just keep cleaning my house," she says. "I just love to clean."


Bingo Players Flee, Dab-O-Ink and Cigarettes in Hand
NY Times - January 9, 2005

New York - In Richmond Hill, Queens, the marquee of the old RKO Keith's theater still speaks loudly with big type and yellow trim, as it did when vaudevillians ad-libbed on its stage and crowds swarmed its entrance. But no movies are shown there anymore, and the bright bulbs inside the bold red letters of the theater's name are gone.

One attraction, however, does get top billing. "Richmond Hill Bingo Hall," the marquee on Hillside Avenue now reads. "Cash Prizes." In place of the seats on the theater's main floor are a sea of plain brown tables. Bingo video monitors abound.

The game has ruled here since the late 60's, when the theater reopened as a bingo palace, with proceeds going to various charity groups. But in the last decade, the hall's managers say, the city's bingo industry took a series of hits, as O.T.B. parlors became more prevalent and Atlantic City regained its popularity. And no blow has been as damaging as the 2003 smoking ban.

"Business was decreasing before, but it was livable," said Bob Wooldridge, the hall's manager. "But the no-smoking law came in and really whammed it."

Since then, at least half of the customers, from all corners of the city, have decided to find entertainment elsewhere. Nightly games under the theater's dusty chandeliers used to attract 300 or 400 guests, but now the average is closer to 125. Some players tried ducking outside after every few games to light up, but it didn't last.

"If they want to spend their money, they want to be comfortable," said Susan Shkoditch, the volunteer who runs the bingo games for the charities. "They're mostly angry that their rights are being violated."

Competition among bingo halls in Queens for the remaining players has become so fierce that some establishments have resorted to sabotage, Mr. Wooldridge says. He believes that competitors have called the city's 311 phone line to report smoking at his hall, even though there isn't any. If a customer does manage to sneak an unauthorized smoke and an inspector arrives, an $800 fine and a day in court can result.


Smoking ban blamed for bingo hall closure
The StarPhoenix - April 29, 2005

Saskatchewan's province-wide smoking ban has claimed another victim.

Players at Confederation Bingo will dab their cards for the last time on Saturday
when the hall closes its doors for good.

"Since the (city's) non-smoking bylaw came in, there has been a drastic reduction
in the amount of bingo players," Confederation Bingo's general manager Randy
Gudmundson said.

"I'm guessing they're sitting at home, having a cigarette at home and finding other
forms of entertainment," he said.

Saskatoon's seven bingo halls began losing money last July when the city's
no-smoking bylaw kicked in.


2004 Annual Report, March 21, 2005
NYS Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering
NY State Senator William J. Larkin, Chairman

"The reason for the overall decline in handle deserves attention. NY's Clean Indoor Air Act, which arguably bans smoking in bingo halls sponsored by veterans groups and benevolent orders, was expected to have a direct adverse effect on bingo operations and profitability. It is likely that the law is part of the reason for the decline in overall handle."


Bingo Magazine Continues to Explain...

Some counties have granted waivers for bingo game operations.
Monroe County steadfastly refuses to grant any waivers. Only the local all volunteer Moose has smoking at their bingo and had to hire a lawyer to argue that they are exempt.

Additionally, Upstate bingo games and fraternal organizations' clubs rely on "Bell Jar" tickets. They are basically paper "slot machines". These pull tab ticket sales have also declined:

Note: "Handle" is total sales and "net profit" is the bottom line income. They both are in decline but not at the exact same rate.

Organizations have tried to find ways to remain profitable while income declines. In bingo games, for example, you start charging more and paying out less. This in turn irritates bingo players who start playing less often.

A few bingo chairmen have noted:

Smokers tend to spend 3 times as much money at bingo as non-smokers.

If 20% of our crowd are smokers and they don't come to bingo, we lose 60% of our profits.

(MORE IRONY): The Syracuse chapter of the American Heart Association used to have smoking at their bingo. Once the ban came into effect they were forced to cease bingo fundraising due to lack of profitability.

A third of Upstate New York bingo games have closed in the past couple of years

Hilton Music Boosters, Hilton St. Stanislaus Parish 
Tuesday Rochester 
(Sunday & Thurs OPEN)
St. Mark’s, Greece
St. Peter, Leroy St. James, Rochester Our Lady of Mercy, Greece
Holy Family, Leroy St. James, Rochester St. Michael’s, Newark
St. Vincent de Paul, Churchville St. Anne’s, Rochester St. Philip Neri, Rochester
Churchville Moose, Churchville St. James, Rochester American Legion, Canandaigua
Holy Ghost Parish, Chili Knights of Columbus, Rochester St. Mary’s, Palmyra
St. Pius X, Chili Holy Family School, Rochester Temple Beth Am, Henrietta
St. Jude’s, Gates Holy Cross School, Rochester Good Shepherd School, Henrietta
St. Monica’s, Rochester Afro American Club, Rochester Flower City Elks, Rochester
Firebirds Drum Corps, Rochester Afro Ladies Auxillary, Rochester Stafford Fire Dept.
Freddie Thomas Fndtn, Rochester St. Boniface, Rochester Oakfield Fire Dept.
Most Precious Blood, Rochester Moose Lodge 113, Irondequoit St. Francis Xavier, Clifton Springs
Immaculate Conception, Rochester Christ the King, Irondequoit St. Rita’s, Webster
St. Francis Xavier, Rochester St. Salome’s, Irondeqoit St. Dimitria, Henrietta
St. Michael’s, Rochester St. Thomas the Apostle, Irondequoit
St. Ambrose, Irondequoit St. Nicholas, Gates

VFW Post Blames Low Business On Smoking Ban
WCCO TV 4 (Hopkins, MN) - August 5, 2005

VFW Posts are more than just places where veterans socialize. The posts are also major charitable contributors, but some posts said they are putting the donations on hold.

The reason some posts give: the Hennepin County smoking ban.

The VFW Post 425 in Hopkins, Minn. has seen a 20 percent decline at the bar in recent months.

"I knew it was gonna be bad," said Mark Peterson, the VFW gambling manager. "I didn't think it was gonna be this bad."

The real bad luck is at the pulltab counter, where business is down nearly 30 percent. That money should be going to charity.

"We've suspended all of our donations right now, until we find out how well we're gonna weather this," said Peterson.

The post planned on donating another $30,000 to scholarships, school groups and baseball teams, but now, the vets have a bigger worry.

"What's in jeopardy is closing the doors of the building," said Peterson.


VFW owner and other bar owners ask county to reconsider smoking ban
Sun Newspapers (MN) - June 16, 2005

The Crystal VFW donates 100 percent of its pulltab receipts to local and statewide nonprofit organizations, schools and clubs. [Nanci Holler] said the VFW gave $161,707 to 26 organizations – including Districts 281 and 279, Minneapolis’ Patrick Henry High School and the city of Crystal - between April 1, 2004 and March 31, 2005, when the ban went into effect.

In March, she said the VFW’s gross receipts exceeded $400,000. In April and May, she said receipts are closer to $250,000. Gambling receipts, she said, are down 46 percent.

Money lost to the smoking ban, she said, is money lost for local charities.


Fox News Live (FNC) called and asked me to participate in an interview on May 14th.

The next day they called to cancel because they could not get anyone from the charities to appear and debate me.

Two things come to mind:

1. What are the charities afraid of?
2. That Fox News Live is allowing them to censor the news by not allowing me to appear because they won't appear.


Cancer Society fined for lack of disclosure in anti-smoking ads
The News Tribune (WA) - June 10, 2005

When the American Cancer Society last year paid to air television ads warning of the dangers of secondhand smoke, it didn’t disclose the expenditure because, it contended, the ads weren’t supporting a proposed smoking ban working its way through the Legislature.

The state’s Public Disclosure Commission disagreed and the society eventually reported the money it spent on the ads.

But that wasn’t enough for the commission, which Thursday approved a $3,500 fine against the society for missing deadlines to report the money it spent on the ads and other so-called “grass-roots lobbying” intended to generate support for smoking ban proposals.

According to a report from the commission’s staff, “the violations are significant,” since the $64,200 the commission spent pushing the smoking ban wasn’t disclosed until after the 2004 legislative session ended. That means people watching the ads – some of which featured former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop urging them to ask their legislators to support the ban – didn’t know who was paying for them.

The smoking ban proposals, which would have prohibited smoking in bars, restaurants and most other non-tribal businesses, failed. An initiative that would have done the same thing failed to make the ballot last year, though a similar one this year appears more likely to make the Nov. 8 ballot, thanks in part to nearly $600,000 in backing from the Cancer Society.

But the society has also missed deadlines for reporting its contributions to the initiative this year, according to the commission’s report. As part of the agreement approved Thursday, if the society commits another violation or fails to meet other conditions, it will trigger an additional $4,000 in fines.

The commission Thursday also fined the American Heart Association $400 for missing deadlines to report nearly $15,000 it spent pushing the smoking bans.

And it fined Breathe Easy Washington, the group that pushed last year’s failed smoking ban initiative, $400 for missing deadlines to report $8,500 in contributions it received last year.