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Published April 06, 2010, 08:52 AM

Gambling drops in North Dakota over decade

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The director of the State Gaming Division says North Dakota's charitable gambling industry has dropped to its lowest level in more than a decade.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The director of the State Gaming Division says North Dakota's charitable gambling industry has dropped to its lowest level in more than a decade.

Keith Lauer says it's due largely to a declining economy and smoking bans that have driven bettors from Bingo halls and bars.

Lauer says North Dakotans spent $250.8 million on bingo, pull tabs, blackjack and other games of chance last year. That was down from $265.7 million in 2008 and $255.1 million in 1999.

The state began games of chance in 1977, when only $5.9 million was wagered. It has been a quarter-billion-dollar industry for more than a decade.

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