July 19, 2010; Source: Chicago Tribune | In a sour economy, even gambling takes a hit, and in states like Indiana, where large numbers of nonprofit groups rely on bingo, pull-tabs, or other games of chance, it’s just another source of lost revenue. As a result, the Chicago Tribune reports budgets at hundreds of veterans groups, churches, and other nonprofits with gaming licenses in the state are feeling the strain.

Although figures are not in for fiscal year 2010, which ended in June, gross charity receipts for the period 2000 to 2009, are down 8 percent. After deducting costs to pay the companies that provide the gaming services, actual income to the beneficiary organizations is down 18 percent for the past decade.

Facing increasing odds to get people to spend more on games of chance, the Lions Club in Fort Wayne has been offering discounts and giveaways. “But people are struggling and have less money for fun things,” said Tom Shriner, a volunteer. The American Legion in Warsaw isn’t faring much better. “We’re in the slumps right now. The economy is killing everybody. We have to wait it out or close our doors. We’re hoping that doesn’t happen either,” said Mike Davis, the post adjutant.

That trend is apparently hitting organizations throughout the state, according to Larry Delaney, assistant director for the Indiana Gaming Commission. “The clubs tell us routinely that attendance is down and income is down.” Any bets on whether the picture will brighten?—Bruce Trachtenberg