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Fargo considers gaming changes

Gambling will once again be on the table Monday as Fargo city commissioners discuss a bar owner's request to expand charitable gaming regulations. Brad Hemerick, owner of The Nestor, asked the commission last month to increase the number of gamin...

Gambling will once again be on the table Monday as Fargo city commissioners discuss a bar owner's request to expand charitable gaming regulations.

Brad Hemerick, owner of The Nestor, asked the commission last month to increase the number of gaming sites a charitable organization can have, from two to three.

There aren't enough organizations to go around, and it's causing business to suffer, Hemerick said.

Commissioners had an informational meeting on the issue Tuesday. Fargo Mayor Bruce Furness said he wants to make sure everyone is up to speed before considering changes.

"It's more complex than just that simple decision," Furness said.

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Among the issues brought up Tuesday were that gaming proceeds are down statewide and not every licensed liquor establishment is a viable site for successful gaming.

Moorhead allows charitable gaming organizations to operate up to six sites.

Fargo's limitations were put in place in 1981 to prevent an organization from coming in and having all the sites, said Fargo Gaming Auditor Terri Leier-Sprenger.

But times have changed. Now the average cost for an organization to get a site started is about $15,000, and much of that goes toward video surveillance cameras. That wasn't required in the early 1980s, and it was easier to get into gaming, Leier-Sprenger said.

The public will have an opportunity to weigh in Monday. The City Commission meeting begins at 5 p.m.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mary Jo Almquist at (701) 241-5531

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