WAVE 3 Investigates: How the smoking ban has affected bingo halls - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

WAVE 3 Investigates: How the smoking ban has affected bingo halls

By Mark Schnyder
WAVE 3 Investigator

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- A man who runs a charity bingo operation says his cause is being hurt by other bingo parlors. The problem stems from the metro-wide smoking ban that went into affect in July. WAVE 3 Investigator Mark Schnyder has details.
James Doolin says he's abiding by the smoking ban and he's lost 30% of his bingo customers as a result. What's eating at him more than the ban is the fact other bingo parlors appear to be a little lax in their enforcement. According to the public records we requested, he may have a point.

You can't see it, but James Doolin just about has smoke coming out of his ears.  He's frustrated with the smoking ban, but even more perturbed with other bingo parlors where smoking is taking place.

"They don't care about the law and they sell more packs, they sell more tabs they sell more concessions and they're putting the small people out of business," says Doolin.

Through bingo, Doolin raises money for his Louisville Legends amateur boxing and mentoring program. 

His bingo place, Sunshine Bingo has been caught violating the smoking ban one time. A couple of miles away, Highview Manor Bingo has gotten five citations. The Bingo Palace on Dixie Highway has seven. None of these businesses have paid their fines because of pending litigation. They're waiting for a judge to rule whether or not the ban is constitutional.

"It has to go through due process but I think we're all confident the smoke free ordinance will be upheld and eventually these individuals will comply with the ordinance," says Matt Rhodes, Louisville Metro's Department of Public Health and Wellness Environmental Health Administrator.

"It's okay for them to say that now. And it's okay for this judge to sit on the bench and wait until Christmas, but what about our charities? What about these charities that can't make it?" asks Doolin.

WAVE 3 talked to the lawyer for the operator of Highview Manor Bingo which has been cited five times. He says his client has no smoking signs posted and when he's around he does his best to enforce the ordinance. Doolin doesn't buy it.

Online Reporter:  Mark Schnyder

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway

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