I was completely appalled by Howard Stutz’s Aug. 12 commentary (“Smoking ban hammers Harrah’s New Orleans”). The headline was completely misleading. Mr. Stutz claimed the smoking ban caused Harrah’s New Orleans’ gaming decline for the month of June. However, Mr. Stutz failed to mention that gaming revenue had been in decline the entire year. How could a smoke-free law that started in April cause a decline before it was implemented?
Mr. Stutz also failed to mention that Harrah’s reported record visitors in June. There was no mention of how the handle was for the month. Did new customers play but had initial luck? There was no mention of how food, beverage and entertainment sales did for the month. According to Steve Wynn and many other gaming experts, those are the growth areas.
During Mr. Stutz’s Gulf trip, he reported on the closure of two casinos that allowed smoking. Did he jump to conclude that smoking killed those casinos? Did Mr. Stutz mention that for more than two months, Harrah’s did not reach out to the 80 percent of the population who are nonsmokers? Harrah’s officials had a terrific opportunity to take advantage of a lot of goodwill and bring in a whole new group of customers.
Harrah’s also did not reach out to its smoking guests and reassure them that they would accommodate them as much as possible. Instead, they spent those months fighting the ban tooth and nail. They wasted an amazing opportunity.
The article also did not match the headline. Harrah’s General Manager Dan Real said he didn’t expect going smoke-free to be a long-term issue. Smokers reported that they are used to going outside for a cigarette and they will get used to this, as well.
The article had no mention of casino employees at all. Secondhand smoke is a known workplace health hazard. The new smoke-free law was to protect the employees. Even if an employee agrees to work there, even if that employee smokes and begs to work around smoke, the health hazard is present.
Most importantly, Mr. Stutz writing that a smoke-free law is more devastating than Hurricane Katrina is highly offensive to the true victims of that horrible storm. Mr. Stutz should apologize to every person who lost their lives, loved ones and homes. Mr. Stutz seems to care about corporations substantially more than people.
John W. McDonnell
It’s humorous and sickening at the same time to hear Republicans respond to Donald Trump’s statement that Sen. John McCain is not a war hero. This is the same party that wrongly denounced Secretary of State John Kerry, who was awarded a Bronze Star, Silver Star, three Purple Hearts, etc.
Republicans had no problem lying about Mr. Kerry and defacing him in the press. However, a statement about Republican Sen. McCain is now labeled by his party to be one step away from heresy. Shouldn’t the party whose mission was to “swift-boat” a decorated war hero 11 years ago continue with this line when one of its own is attacked? Don’t Republicans have any consistency? Any pride? Oops, I just answered my own question.
When Nevada voters overwhelmingly defeated the margins tax proposition in 2014, freshly re-elected Gov. Brian Sandoval gave himself another stab at increasing taxes by forcing a huge increase through the Legislature. Now, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid has joined the governor in an effort to preserve the new tax package against a recall challenge. It’s interesting how Sen. Reid and Gov. Sandoval have teamed up to govern against the will of the people of Nevada.
Since Gov. Sandoval gave himself a do-over on the huge margins tax, is it unreasonable for the rest of us to ask for a do-over on his re-election?
Robert R. Kessler