St. Jo Frontier Casino Speaks Out on Latest Smoking Ban Issue

By Jonathan Cooper |

Published 05/06 2014 06:23PM

Updated 05/07 2014 09:44AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) It has been a hotly debated issue throughout the smoking ban process - the casino.

Chris Krabil, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the St. Jo Frontier Casino, is speaking out about new developments to the ban.

"The people voted, we are where we are today," said Krabil.

On Monday, the St. Joseph City Council said they would consider voting to include the casino gaming floor in the ban, a slight change to what voters decided last month.

As it stands right now, all bars and restaurants in town will have to ban smoking indoors starting June 7th. The casino gaming floor is exempt.

"I suggested because it's a council petition that we go ahead and include the casino gaming floor just to make it fair with everybody," said councilman PJ Kovac.

Kovac said the casino warned them about how it would affect their business in past meetings.

"Two times, 5-4, we voted to include the casino gaming floor and the council was warned that the casino was going to send out all these emails to all their customer base and we were going to get swamped with all these bad comments about not banning them and only one email came back negative about not wanting them banned," Kovac said.

This change is something casino managers oppose.

"We are uniquely different in our gaming versus other industries in the community," said Krabil. "There's only 13 gaming licenses in the state of Missouri, our liquor license comes from the gaming control board, not locally."

The casino also says a smoking ban would mean the possibility of them moving downtown would be off the table.

"If there was no smoking here, downtown would be out of the question," he said. "If the revenues dip here too much this license can be moved."

Krabil said losing the casino would hurt the city because of how much they help out the community.

"We support the local university, we give money to the city to fix the roads," Krabil said. "We have over 230 employees, the majority are from St. Joe."

As arguments on both sides of the debate continue, additional meetings are in the works.

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