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HELENA, MT -- In Montana, license fee income generated by video poker machines fell 16% in 2010, even though the number of machines on location increased 3%, according a report issued by the Montana Gambling Control Division. Montana was the first state to legalize operator-run video poker machines that pay winners.
The last time Montana's annual poker earnings were up was in 2008; revenue dropped 2% in 2009. A soft economy and a statewide smoking ban that includes casinos were blamed for the earnings decrease.
The state Legislature passed the Video Poker Machine Act in 1985, allowing five poker machines and unlimited keno machines per liquor license. The state changed its video poker market to an online tax payment system in 2007.
Currently, more than 1,600 licensed gambling operators run more than 17,000 video gambling machines in locations statewide.