The state of Montana finally went smoke-free at the beginning of this month, when even the final holdout bars and restaurants had to tell smokers to get their butts out.
But wait! The new rules apply to the state of Montana, not to the sovereign nations on the seven reservations within the state’s boundaries.
That’s been a boon to tribal casinos such as the one in Crow Agency, which now runs TV ads touting its smoking status since the Clean Indoor Air Act went into effect, the Billings (Mont.) Gazette reports here. The Charging Horse casino on the nearby Cheyenne Reservation also allows smokers.
“Gambling and smoking go hand in hand,” says Wales Bull Tail, manager of the Little Bighorn casino. “Gambling without smoking is like trying to eat meat without salt.”
The tribe reports that, since the smoking ban went into effect elsewhere in the state, business at its casino has picked up.
“You’d go crazy playing these machines if you couldn’t smoke,” says Mike Little Nest, a patron of the Little Bighorn casino. “If I’m gambling, I’m smoking. It’s easier on the nerves.”