A Pine Bluff ordinance to ban smoking at the Saracen Casino was presented in a proposal but failed receive approval. Council members Ivan Whitfield and Chairman Donald Hatchett voted to send the amended ordinance to the full council with a do-not pass recommendation. “Gambling, drinking and smoking, they all go together,” Whitfield said.

Katherine Donald, the Executive Director of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas, said while she was excited about the prospect of the new casino creating a significant number of jobs, she was also concerned about the health of workers at the casino. She suggested that people should go outside of the casino if they wish to smoke. Donald stated that only 23.6 percent of the people in Arkansas smoke, and that is a much larger percentage of people that does not.

Carlton Saffa, who works for Downstream Casinos, said that the health of casino employees is a big concern by Downstream Development and the new casino will have an on-site medical facility available. “It’s not going to be just a big building with a bunch of slots machines,” he said.

The Arkansas General Assembly adopted a Senate sponsored bill that exempts casinos from the Arkansas Indoor Clean Air Act.