L’Auberge opened its new, $4 million terrace Friday that allows customers to smoke and play slot machines.
“Certainly, a lot of our guests like to smoke. It’s pretty common in casinos in Mississippi and other parishes,” L’Auberge general manager Kim Ginn said. “We wanted to make sure they still had an option where they could come to L’Auberge, smoke and game at the same time.”
This change comes after East Baton Rouge implemented a smoke ban in area casinos, bars and restaurants. 2018 was a losing year for Baton Rouge casinos all around. L’Auberge faced a 12.2 percent revenue drop in 2018 compared to the year prior. L’Auberge officials tell us the casino saw even more of that after the Smoke Free EBR ordinance took effect June 1.
“Unfortunately, back in June when the casino did become non-smoking, we did see our revenue fall about 15 percent as all of the casinos in Baton Rouge have, so this will help,” Ginn said.
The American Cancer Society was a major proponent of the smoke-free ordinance. Government Relations Director Lance Barbour said L’Auberge is allowed to create this smoking terrace under the ordinance, but it goes against the point of the ban.
“The whole reason behind the smoke free ordinance was to protect everyone from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, especially the workers. If you have workers go out there while individuals are smoking, we know there is no level of secondhand smoke that is safe,” Barbour said.
Six months after Smoke Free EBR took effect, Barbour said the before and after study found air pollution dropped 98.8 percent at area casinos and bars.