German Smoking Worries
By Staff
In Germany, a representative of the land-based casino industry has warned that the nation’s strict anti-smoking laws could threaten the very existence of the industry with players defecting to illegal gambling halls or preferring to play online.

Matthias Hein, Spokesperson for the Federation of German Casinos (DeSIA), stated that three to five casinos could close in the European nation in the next three years as a public smoking ban begins to bite.

“Four out of five casino customers smoke,” said Hein.

“Smoking and gambling are inseparable.”

Hein stated that, due to the smoking ban, the illegal sector is growing alongside those who prefer to play online and revealed that the number of visitors to casinos and gambling venues decreased by 17.7 percent for the first quarter of this year.

He said that the anti-smoking law, which came into full effect on Sunday, is damaging the sector with incomes from roulette and blackjack falling from $1.52 billion in 2002 to $1.43 billion last year. The decline could also affect the public purse with authorities getting far less than the $248.6 million in tax they received for 2007.

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