DES MOINES — Faced with a drop in gambling revenue, states are adding games, considering new casinos and increasing lottery options — anything to keep their cut of the profits rolling in.
States are adamant that they don't want to take advantage of anyone, but with budgets in free-fall and tax increases a losing hand politically, lawmakers acknowledge they are dependent on gambling dollars.
At least 18 states this year are looking to expand games of chance because of a drop-off of anywhere from 5 to 14 percent in the money they collect from casinos, horse racing, lotteries or other gambling.
The idea of luring people to the craps tables when they are being battered by the recession is an awkward one for state governments — a point that has been raised by people who deal with the collateral damage from gambling.
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According to the American Gaming Association, the nation's nearly 450 non-Indian casinos saw their revenue from gambling drop 5.6 percent from 2008 to 2009, after a decline the year before.
_ Associated Press