About $1.5 billion was spent on charitable gaming in Minnesota during the first half of 2016.

About $1.5 billion was spent on charitable gaming in Minnesota during the first half of 2016.

That's an increase of about 13 percent over the previous year. Minnesota Gambling Control Board compliance officer Gary Danger says spending continued to surge in the last half of the year. Lower gas prices may be tied to the increase. Danger says people have a little extra money to spend on fun.

Gaming officials tell the Star Tribune that spending on pull tabs, bingo, raffles and other charitable gambling in fiscal 2016 equates to more than $275 for every person in Minnesota.

Nonprofits such as veterans groups and community charities were given 4.7 percent of the total, or $70 million, after prizes, taxes and expenses were paid.