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Tribe says lottery killed its business
Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 11:58:24 PM
Business is hopping at the Super Bi-Lo on Cherry Road in Rock Hill. A steady stream of cars buzzes in and out on a recent Friday afternoon.
But Donald Rodgers, chief of the Catawba Indian Nation in York County, prefers to remember a time when the site brought in money, not for a grocery chain, but for South Carolina’s only federally recognized Indian tribe, the Catawbas.
On busy weekend nights in the late 1990s, church vans and tour buses rolled in from North Carolina and Georgia. And the Catawba’s bingo hall, sitting where the Bi-Lo does now, swelled with more than 1,000 eager bingo players.
Then, in 2002, came the S.C. lottery. As attendance at the bingo parlor dwindled to a mere 250 to 300 people, profits were cut in half, effectively killing the tribe’s only revenue stream.
“You have a better chance of winning at bingo, but people wanted to play the lottery instead,” Rodgers said with a shrug.
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