In The News: After The Smoke Cleared, Where Did All The Bingo Players Go?

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Banning smoking at charity bingo games may have health benefits, but it is proving harmful to earnings.

In Minnesota, which adopted a statewide ban on smoking in all indoor workplaces in October, revenue from all charity gambling dropped nearly 13 percent in the last quarter of 2007, compared to the same quarter the year before, according to state officials. More than half of the drop — the equivalent of about $100 million annually — was attributed to the new law, they said.

Charlie Lindstrom, who runs the bingo nights at an American Legion post in Fergus Falls, Minn., said some of his former customers now drove to casinos on Indian reservations, where they can puff away, or across the border to Fargo, N.D., where veterans’ organizations are exempt from that state’s smoking ban.

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Posted by on Monday, April 28th, 2008. Filed under DCI World.