Last November the high moral tone of Lincolns self appointed elite spoke loud and clear and at ballot in general election they voted for a total and complete ban on smoking in all public establishments within the city limits. This ban not only included the bars and nightclubs it also included the smoke shops whose only products are tobacco.
Much doom and gloom was prophesied about bars losing business and closing because of the the ban. Many of those that cut their nose off to spite their face answered that things like that did not happen in the other politically correct communities and states that have enacted such laws and ordinances. California has always been held up as the prime example by those that favored the ban. But Lincoln is not California and the ban is not statewide. As has been seen there are numorous communities with bars and clubs within short driving distance of Lincoln that are all too happy to rake in the money that the snobbery of Lincoln has cast aside. Money that paid for library books and park projects.
Keno is big business for 30 licensed locations in Lincoln, many of them bars and nightclubs. Keno players are a dedicated lot and do not like to have their games and concentration broken because they have to step outside for a smoke. Under contractual license agreement the city of Lincoln recieves fourteen cents of every Keno dollar played. Figures for January, the first month of the ban indicate that the gross revenue is down nearly five hundred thousand dollars over the previous January. At fourteen cents on every dollar that represents a one month loss of about a seventy thousand dollars in income the city has come to depend on for Librairies and Park projects.
Where has the money gone?
It seems that many of the bars and restaurants from nearby communities, that offer Keno as a form of entertainment, have experienced an increase in the revenue they receive from the game played in their establishments. In some cases this increase is by as much as 25%. One bar in particular that mentions the 25 percentage realizes between four and five hundred thousand dollars a month from Keno gross. That means their gross has increased by nearly one hundred thousand dollars in one month. That one bar its self represents a probable loss of fourteen thousand dollars to the Lincoln city coffers. And that dear readers is just one bar in one town near Lincoln.
Another bar boasts a 5-8% increase in revenue since January of this year. Consider that for every one hundred dollars increase these nearby business report as an increase over last year probably means a fourteen dollar loss to the city of Lincoln.
There hasn't been much in the way of figures being bantied about concerning the loses that area bars are experiencing just from lack or liquor sales over the same time period last year, but it has been the subject of conversation to say the least.
The gist of it is that Lincoln is losing a lot of money since the ban went into effect. Not only from Keno and liquor sales either. For every employee that isn't hired or has to be let go because an establishment does not have the customers it used to accounts for more untold amounts of dollars in lost revenue, both tax to the city and profit to the business.
With the financial problems that face Lincoln at this time any loss of revenue is hard hit and will be felt. Already there is talk of tax increases and other means of raiding the pockets of the citizenry to make up the deficit caused by the high moral tone of the West Coast Wannabes last election cycle.
Many thought that Lincoln would be saved by a statewide smoking ban that was winding its way through the unicameral. This however is not to be as the state wide legislation was snuffed out by a vote of 19 for and 26 against. Another small thought to be saving grace was also extinguished recently when Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey vetoed a similar ban passed by that cities council.
Although the Lincoln city council passed a partial ban last year and in the dead of night a few weeks later recinded that one and passed a total and complete ban, it is the High Minded citizens of Lincoln that voted for the ban on the November ballot that are entirely responsible for the loss of millions of dollars in revenue that will gladly be accepted in the neighboring communities. Communities that will now have the money that Lincoln used to have, to buy library books and and fund municiple projects.