NEW CUMBERLAND, W.Va. — The Hancock County Board of Health voted Tuesday in favor of a countywide public place indoor smoking ban despite objections from the county’s largest employer, Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort.

Mountaineer General Manager Chris Kern told MetroNews it was a disappointing vote.

“We put in a lot of energy and effort trying to communicate with the board, offering concessions, offering ideas for compromise. Those ideas were always accepted by the board, they listened, but they never communicated back with us,” Kern said.

The 5-0 health board vote makes the ban effective July 1, 2015. The ordinance also covers some outdoor public areas and if there are smoking areas they must be 20 feet away from a building entrance.

Kern said Mountaineer has never argued against the ban on a medical basis, he said everyone knows smoking in bad for you, but he said the argument is on a economic basis and the business and jobs it could cost the gaming facility.

“Now we’re going to have to have those unpleasant discussions about…exactly where this is going to impact us in terms of which departments and when we are going to have to make some tough decisions,” Kern said.

Mountaineer is in competition for gambling business with newer casinos in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Pennsylvania has a 50 percent smoking ban while Ohio casinos are smoke free. Kern believes Ohio gamblers will stay home if Mountaineer is also smoke free.

The ban won’t go into effect for 10 months and Kern hinted they may be enough time for Mountaineer to fight the decision.

“We have some alternatives available to us that we’re going to pursue,” he said. “We still feel like we have a few avenues we can go down in hopes of heading this off.”

There are now nearly 30 counties in the Mountain State with 100 percent indoor smoking bans in public places.

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Comments

  • Jay Tee

    The best thing they can do is go non smoking. I frequent the Rivers and I would travel another 45 min to go to WV if their casino goes 100% non smoking. The shit is bad to breath, kills your table game experience with so asshole looser burning cigs and blowing it all over you while your trying to hit your numbers. We don't need your cancer, go kill yourself outside with the auto carbon monoxide. I hope all smokers die a slow horrible death as us non smokers should not have to suffer and ingest that carcinogens
    Die to all smokers that gamble, GO GO GO Mountianeer to non smoking! don't be afraid, the non smokers will come and supplement the broke ass smokers. Non smoker people are much more intelligent and usually make more $ as their smarter and that's more for the casino not the cig co.

  • Bonni Granato

    I will be coming to Mountaineer much more often after hearing this wonderful news. I just wish we could fast forward to July 2015.

  • Bonni Granato

    I will definitely be coming to Mountaineer much more often after hearing this wonderful news. I just wish we could fast forward to July 2015.

  • Kevin

    Come on, they did not outlaw smoking just forced all the smokers to go out side and puff their lives away. This may also save lives. Even if 20 percent of the smoking public quit it would be worth the inconvience of a handful of people going outside for their habit. If non smoking is a death nail to the casino then why are the Ohio casinos and Canadian casinos always packed? Corperate greed MTR stock hasnt recovered from the resession yet? Smoking hasnt save them. The strong will survive the weak will close. Kudos to the 5 brave bd of health members for their fwd thinking.

  • harleyrider1778

    MORE BUSIENSSES DESTROYED BY SMOKING BANS IN WEST VIRGINIA

    MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — There has been a “high level of compliance” with the Berkeley County Board of Health’s workplace smoking ban since it was expanded to include bars on July 1, but the amount of cash put into limited video lottery game machines at more than 80 of these alcohol-serving establishments also dropped by about $1 million from June to July.

    A few bar owners and managers contacted this week attribute the drop in revenue, at least in part, on the board of health’s move to expand the county’s ban on smoking in workplaces and public places, but also say they need more time to judge the long term impact.

    Business owner C.B. “Butch” Pennington said they are trying to do different promotions to increase business, but isn’t optimistic revenue will rebound.

    The $7.2 million that was put into the state-regulated gaming machines in July at 85 establishments in Berkeley County was down from $8.2 million in June when there were two more gaming locations in the county, according to figures maintained by the West Virginia Lottery. The July 2014 tally was about $940,000 lower than July 2013 and the lowest since $7.4 million in January 2014, according to the state lottery.

    Pennington said his three video lottery/restaurant businesses in July saw declines of about 46 percent, 17 percent and 36 percent, respectively, compared to June. Food and bar sales, however, remained fairly even, Pennington said.

    At his two liquor stores, Pennington said wholesale liquor sales are “really down” and he added that three clubs have indicated they might very well close in the coming days given the effect of the smoking ban on their business.

    “We tried to explain that to the health department,” Pennington said of the regulation’s effect on the businesses.

  • harleyrider1778

    MORE BUSIENSSES DESTROYED BY SMOKING BANS IN WEST VIRGINIA

    MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — There has been a “high level of compliance” with the Berkeley County Board of Health’s workplace smoking ban since it was expanded to include bars on July 1, but the amount of cash put into limited video lottery game machines at more than 80 of these alcohol-serving establishments also dropped by about $1 million from June to July.

    A few bar owners and managers contacted this week attribute the drop in revenue, at least in part, on the board of health’s move to expand the county’s ban on smoking in workplaces and public places, but also say they need more time to judge the long term impact.

    Business owner C.B. “Butch” Pennington said they are trying to do different promotions to increase business, but isn’t optimistic revenue will rebound.

    The $7.2 million that was put into the state-regulated gaming machines in July at 85 establishments in Berkeley County was down from $8.2 million in June when there were two more gaming locations in the county, according to figures maintained by the West Virginia Lottery. The July 2014 tally was about $940,000 lower than July 2013 and the lowest since $7.4 million in January 2014, according to the state lottery.

    Pennington said his three video lottery/restaurant businesses in July saw declines of about 46 percent, 17 percent and 36 percent, respectively, compared to June. Food and bar sales, however, remained fairly even, Pennington said.

    At his two liquor stores, Pennington said wholesale liquor sales are “really down” and he added that three clubs have indicated they might very well close in the coming days given the effect of the smoking ban on their business.

    “We tried to explain that to the health department,” Pennington said of the regulation’s effect on the businesses.

    http://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/tri_state/west_virginia/gaming-down-at-berkeley-county-bars-since-smoking-ban-went/article_adcd8ccc-b128-5535-b366-8ee786586641.html

  • CKG

    I will be heading to NY to gamble now. This ban will DECREASE business in a big way!! They will see a decrease almost immediatley. Since the Ohio casinos do not allow smoking people go to Mountaineer, now they will be going elsewhere. Yes smoking is bad for you but that is our choice not the governement. They should mind their own business and if the non smokers dont like the smoke then come to ohio to gamble.

    • Nadine B

      You said it - smoking is bad for you so us non-smokers DO NOT want to be subjected to your poison. Just walk outside to smoke, you don't have the right to subject people to the stench, the poison , and the discomfort. If you want to kill yourself, go right ahead!!

  • CKG

    I guess I will be heading to NY now. This ban will DECREASE

  • Todd Sturm

    The smoking ban will likely increase casino business. More people hate the smoke than like it. It will be nice to leave the casino not smelling like a walking ash tray.Smokers don't care how bad it smells and taste.

  • Denny

    Look at it this way it may prevent some elder person from getting blown up while they are smokeing and pulling a oxygen tank around.

  • Ken McRoberts

    There goes jobs there goes tax revenue now who is going to pay the board of health fire them all and if you don't like smoke stay away

  • Jim

    This is for the crazy harley guy who keeps asking for the names of people who have died from SHS. You can't get the names because of HIPA, do you know what that is? If you do then you know why. Quit asking stupid questions. It like asking who died from black lung last year. You won't get the names just the numbers.

  • harleyrider1779

    Mountaineer Racetrack Reacts to New Hancock County Smoking Ban
    Posted: Aug 27, 2014 4:25 PM CDT Updated: Aug 28, 2014 10:54 AM CDT

    By Nate Fluharty - email






    It was an issue hotly contested across Hancock County.

    On Tuesday, the Hancock County Health Board gave the go-ahead to a new countywide smoking ban.

    The largest business to oppose the smoking ban, Mountaineer Racetrack and Casino, reacted to the news saying: "The Hancock County Board of Health has shown a complete disregard for the documentation provided by Mountaineer as if a predisposed decision had already been made. Mountaineer received no response on its numerous requests to discuss materials, or any questions in regards to the information provided. The vote today was made in the face of an unprecedented effort from Mountaineer to work with the Health Department staff to offer compromises that would have been a step forward for the residents in terms of health, and would save jobs and economic disorder for the county and surrounding municipalities. With this 100 percent ban on smoking, Mountaineer anticipates a considerable negative effect on its business, which will force us to consider unfortunate alternatives."

  • Jim

    Watch this video. This brave lady survived lung cancer. She got if from secondhand smoke working in bars doing stand up.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJJuyTGGbBE&safe=active

    Funny but true. Addicts should watch this.

    • harleyrider1779

      It was an issue hotly contested across Hancock County.

      On Tuesday, the Hancock County Health Board gave the go-ahead to a new countywide smoking ban.

      The largest business to oppose the smoking ban, Mountaineer Racetrack and Casino, reacted to the news saying: "The Hancock County Board of Health has shown a complete disregard for the documentation provided by Mountaineer as if a predisposed decision had already been made. Mountaineer received no response on its numerous requests to discuss materials, or any questions in regards to the information provided. The vote today was made in the face of an unprecedented effort from Mountaineer to work with the Health Department staff to offer compromises that would have been a step forward for the residents in terms of health, and would save jobs and economic disorder for the county and surrounding municipalities. With this 100 percent ban on smoking, Mountaineer anticipates a considerable negative effect on its business, which will force us to consider unfortunate alternatives."

  • Denny

    Can't wait for the opening of the Casino in Austintown mainly because it will be smoke free and hopefully not as tight as the Mountaineer. One other thing that place was fun to go to when Ted ran it. Since then it has gone all down hill...