Local Politics

Lawmaker wants to deal state in on video poker

Posted April 22, 2009

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— A state lawmaker filed a bill Wednesday that would legalize video poker in North Carolina and deal 20 percent of profits from the machines into state coffers.

The General Assembly voted three years ago to phase out video poker games by July 2007. The legislation exempted the video gambling machines at the casino run by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Woman playing video poker State would profit from video poker under bill

The machines hold a tarnished place in in state history. Sheriffs loathed them because they had a hard time policing illegal payouts to players, and an investigation into former House Speaker Jim Black's ties to the industry eventually brought him down on public corruption charges.

Still, the games served as a staple for convenience stores and players.

Rep. Earl Jones, D-Guilford, the sponsor of House Bill 1537, said the state already is in the gaming business by running the North Carolina Education Lottery, so he sees no problem in having the Department of Revenue license and regulate video poker machines in return for a cut of the profits.

"Video poker is no different than the lottery, no worse than the lottery," Jones said. "Video poker would also generate about over $100 million a year in revenue."

With the state facing a projected $3 billion budget deficit for the fiscal year that starts in July, some lawmakers are intrigued by the idea of a new revenue stream. But legislative leaders said they wouldn't bet on Jones' bill passing.

"If we can eliminate (the games), we're probably better off, and hopefully we can keep it that way," Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger said.

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning tossed out North Carolina's video poker ban two months ago, saying the state couldn't allow the games in the Cherokee casino while outlawing them elsewhere. The state has appealed the decision, and the ban remains in place pending a ruling by a higher court.


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  • akand43 Apr 23, 2009

    The argument was made when the lottery was being looked at that we are in the Bible belt and that gambling in any form is illegal. Let’s see now, Mississippi and Louisiana has casinos as well as Florida. North Carolina needs to just go ahead and look at legalizing casino operations in this state. The opposition will blast this proposal and say that it will affect the poor people. They will be spending their money on gambling instead of food for their families. I have this to respond. When are the politicians going to realize that people will make their own decisions? We are grown adults and have the right to make those decisions. I say put it to a state vote and see what the people of the state want, not just the PAC's.

  • showed up late Apr 23, 2009

    I say, let them do it and get thier 20%. I think they wuill find that far less games will be placed than they think... and anyway, this is one vice I in which I do no not participate.
    Regarding legalizing and taxing weed, alcohol is legal and it is far more dangerous to those who don't consume it than is weed.

  • 19tarheel75 Apr 23, 2009

    Not 20% of the profits but 20% off the top!!!

  • murph Apr 23, 2009

    They won't legalize poker, which IS a game of skill, but they want to legalize video poker which is total luck. The reason for that is that they don't see an easy way to make money off of poker as easily as the slots...

    Politicians are disgusting!!!

  • ranquick Apr 23, 2009

    Is this s shock to anyone, it is only reason it was turned over in the high court so the state could make money from it, 20% is way to much, I say 10%

  • Sidekick Apr 23, 2009

    The establishments that have gambling machines also have drinking and smoking. So, if you legalize gambling machines, you will have more revenue from drinking and smoking too. It's a tax on sin but should the government make sin accessible and promoting it? So pot and prostitution is a very reasonable option.

  • 27615 Apr 22, 2009


  • WRALSUCKS Apr 22, 2009

    Vice becomes acceptable as soon as the government gets a cut of the action. Pathetic, but true.

    I'm waiting for the State to begin to operate brothels. After all, they've capitalized on liquor, gambling, cigarettes...all they're missing is the sex trade.

  • GingerTea Apr 22, 2009

    somehow, this is not surprising!

  • nufsaid Apr 22, 2009

    Sounds a lot like the "education lottery". Thank goodness that is in place to reduce our taxes.