Casino denies violating smoking ban
By Paul
A Montana Casino has denied allegations that it breached a clean air ordinance. Last Thursday, Attorney Thomas Budewitz denied each of the 16 charges filed against his clients, GNC Inc. and general manager Greg Straw, for violations of the city’s clean indoor air ordinance.

GNC, owners of the Montana Nugget Casino in Helena, and Straw were the first to be issued citations for violations of the ordinance, which bans smoking in all buildings open to the public. The eight counts against each included five counts of failing to prevent patrons from smoking and three counts of failing to display 'No Smoking' signs.

The financial penalty, if applied, wouldn’t be unduly onerous for the casino: Each of the 16 counts carries a fine of $100. However, the casino intends to fight.

'We intend to file a motion against the validity of the charges,' Budewitz told Acting City Court Judge Karen Bryson. Budewitz has until Sept. 16 to file his motion with the city’s attorney. Budewitz’s motion is unrelated to a lawsuit filed by Bozeman attorney Art Wittich in July against the city, challenging the validity of the ordinance that was approved by voters in June. 'I’m sure it will raise similar issues if not the same issues,' says Budewitz.

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