NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The push to end smoking in racinos across the state continued Monday, Feb. 20, in the Roundhouse. The House Commerce and Economic Development Committee took up the discussion – focusing on the dangers of secondhand smoke. House Bill 168 passed the House Health and Human Services Committee on a five to three vote earlier in February.

The bill takes racinos off of the ‘smoking permitted areas’ list under the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act. “This bill clearly allows for smoking sections to be outside or in separate buildings but not in the same building,” says Democratic Representative of Bernalillo and Sandoval counties Kathleen Cates, lead sponsor of the bill.

An analysis of the bill shows that if this ban causes people to go to different venues, it could mean less money collected in taxes that are based on racino revenue. The New Mexico Racing Commission says other places that enacted this ban saw around 20% revenue loss. The analysis also states the Department of Health (DOH) supports this bill, saying this ban protects patrons and employees from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

This bill got tabled on a seven to three vote, effectively killing the bill. According to the report, 20 states have passed laws making all state-regulated gambling facilities 100% smoke-free.