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Background: Because it is widely played, claims that smoking restrictions will adversely affect bingo games is used as an argument against these policies. We used publicly available data from Massachusetts to assess the impact of 100% smoke-free ordinances on profits from bingo and other gambling sponsored by charitable organisations between 1985 and 2001.
Methods: We conducted two analyses: (1) a general linear model implementation of a time series analysis with net profits (adjusted to 2001 dollars) as the dependent variable, and community (as a fixed effect), year, lagged net profits, and the length of time the ordinance had been in force as the independent variables; (2) multiple linear regression of total state profits against time, lagged profits, and the percentage of the entire state population in communities that allow charitable gaming but prohibit smoking.
Results: The general linear model analysis of data from individual communities showed that, while adjusted profits fell over time, this effect was not related to the presence of an ordinance. The analysis in terms of the fraction of the population living in communities with ordinances yielded the same result.
Conclusion: Policymakers can implement smoke-free policies without concern that these policies will affect charitable gaming.