A study shows most patrons of Lac du Flambeau’s casino don’t smoke, and would visit more often if the casino was nonsmoking. Lake of the Torches Casino partnered with the Great Lakes Intertribal Council to survey almost a thousand gamblers.
Great Lakes Intertribal Council Epidemiologist Isaiah Brokenleg says it’s the first time a casino has cooperated with a public health entity to do a study on smoking preferences. He explains that partnership gave researchers access to the patron database.
“So we were able to pull a sample, proportional to the whole, from each of their gaming tiers. From the folks who gamble a lot, to the folks who gamble a little. And so that’s how we got a good representative sample of the casino patrons.”
The study finds three quarters of Lake of the Torches casino patrons don’t smoke, and more than fifty percent say they would be more likely to come to the casino if it were smoke free. Another quarter of respondents say they’re indifferent.
Brokenleg says the findings refute the stereotype…that casino revenues depend on allowing smoking. But he says getting Lake of the Torches to go smoke free could be very difficult. It would need the support of tribal members and the Lac du Flambeau tribal council. And on the reservation, the smoking rate is over forty percent.
“If you have a community that’s smoking at such a high rate, passing smoke free legislation - which is what it would take –is going to be very difficult. The community readiness isn’t quite there. So hopefully these data will help move the community to a place where it’s ready to pass smoke free legislation.”
The survey was done in 2011, and the results are being published next month in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.