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States look toward expanded gambling for revenue

Long after the recession ends, one of its most visible legacies is likely to be more places - and ways - for Americans to gamble. Pennsylvania lawmakers in October ended the nation's longest state budget standoff by counting on some $250 million in revenue that would be raised by legalizing and taxing casino table games, such as blackjack, craps and roulette.

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Phoenix-area cities paying retention bonuses

Cities in metro Phoenix are paying millions of dollars in retention bonuses as they lay off employees, cut pay or raise taxes amid the recession. Compensation experts question the wisdom of retention bonuses as the state's 9.3 percent unemployment rate has drastically reduced turnover. Cities defend the bonuses as an incentive to retain employees and make up for stagnant wages.

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Nightmare scenarios haunt states

One question keeps coming up as governors and legislators grapple with a seemingly never-ending stream of gloomy budget news that keeps getting worse: How bad can it get? The answer, according to experts and a look through history, is probably that it could get worse than it has been in a generation - maybe even a lifetime - but not catastrophic.

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Popular eatery for political power brokers celebrates 80 years (access required)

In 1993, a handful of notable politicians gathered in the backroom of a small diner in downtown Phoenix to hammer out a deal that would allow Native American tribes to operate casinos on their land in Arizona. The politicians at the table included state Attorney General Grant Woods, Gov. Fife Symington and U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.

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Lottery big part of state’s financial plans, but first voters must vote to keep it

While other contributors to state revenues have dropped off severely of late, the Arizona Lottery has been a growing source of tens of millions of dollars per year since its inception in 1980. The lottery funds a variety of voter-approved state programs in areas such as education, health and transportation and has contributed $2.3 billion in all to its beneficiaries.

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Goddard sues over fake businesses

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard says he's suing three men for advertising at least 47 fictitious businesses in the Tucson Yellow Pages. David Sasson and David Peer, both of Clearwater, Fla., and Gilad Gill of the Bronx, N.Y., are accused of violating the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.

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Highway money on states’ radar

States are hoping that a job-creating initiative to be outlined by President Obama on Dec. 8 will include billions of dollars for infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, recession-worn Michigan may be ineligible for $475 million in federal highway money next year because it can't find $84 million in matching state funds.

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