Interesting little article in today's Gazette about the cost of the smoking ban in Qc. It states that Lotto Quebec stands to lose $150 million from lost VLT revenues alone. That does not include an additional $50 million loss from the removal of 500 machines. Expectedly, they also stand to lose $75 million from lost tobacco revenues. Bar owners, who say that their revenues are down 25-30% because of the ban, are going to court to fight against the new law. The article goes on to say that studies in Ontario and the US show that the numbers have rebounded after a year or so. Not so in Newfoundland however.
Smokers represent 85% of bar patrons in Quebec so I personally don't share their optimism for a "quick" recovery.
So, forgetting the $50m hit from the removal of VLTs, the government stands to lose an already calculated $225 million. Now factor in the lost tax revenue from slower sales at bars and restaurants, the income tax from laid off employees of those establishments, and the revenue lost to online gambling and the total loss will, I'm sure, be staggering.
Smokers and non smokers alike stand to feel the effects of this ban. There is no way that the province will take the hit alone. I wouldn't be surprised to see another tax grab come about in the new year.