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Video-Poker Industry's Political Giving Surges

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RALEIGH — Video-poker interests have increased theircontributions to North Carolina candidates more than fivefold inthe past four years.

A campaign finance watchdog group says Monday it's a sign of thekind of influence that may show up in a fight over a state lottery.

Democracy South says candidates in statewide and legislativeraces received nearly $418,000 for the 2000 electionsfrom donors connected to the video-poker industry.

The video poker industry and its lobbyists only gave 74,000for the 1996 elections. That was before a series of events thathelped expand and later restrict the gambling machines in thestate.

The video poker industry is on track this year to generate $100 million from the state's estimated 10,000 legalmachines.

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