Smoking bans snuff out charity

When even The New York Times concedes it, it must be true:

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.

On a good night, Mr. Lindstrom said, bingo at the post used to attract 50 to 75 players. Nowadays it is more like 30 or 40.

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