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Judge overturns N.C. video poker ban

Posted February 19, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— A Superior Court judge on Thursday overturned North Carolina's ban on video poker, saying the state couldn't allow Cherokees to operate video poker games in their casino while outlawing the games elsewhere in the state.

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.

The ban almost cost Ameer Saib his convenience store in Johnston County.

“We had to do some adjustments, cut some hours, things like that, just so I could stay in business,” Saib said.

A video poker machine Video poker may be back

Judge Howard Manning Jr. said in his three-page ruling issued late Thursday afternoon that the exemption violated the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

"The state acted unlawfully in authorizing the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians to possess and operate video gaming machines on tribal lands within North Carolina because that activity is not allowed elsewhere in this state," Manning wrote.

He immediately stayed his ruling, meaning the video poker ban remains in effect, while state officials appeal the decision.

The decision comes in a suit by video gaming operators against former Gov. Mike Easley.

House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, voted for three years ago for the video poker ban. He said he plans to do what it takes to keep the ban in place.

“Families were being ruined because so many people were addicted to that kind of gambling. It was steeped in corruption,” Stam said.

Saib says if the ban is lifted he'll get back into the business. He believes the state should reimburse he and other business owners affected by the ban.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • slick rick da troll whisperer Feb 20, 2009

    whew hew! now i can go back to hanging out at the gas station on friday nights!

  • ContinuityMan Feb 20, 2009

    "NC doesn't care if you addicted to gambling, all they care about is that they are able to tax your winnings which is difficult with video gambling." - SilverWolf

    Not true! Each of these machines come equipped with internal electronic and physical accounting systems that are difficult to bypass or rig. The state needs to either spot check these machined to make sure they're getting their due or to tax them with a flat annual fee. I ought to know - I fix these systems on the side.

    Gambling taxes are a great revenue stream for a state with a US$2 billion shortfall.

  • OrdinaryCitizen Feb 20, 2009

    Part of me says legalize gambling. Survival of the fittest.
    But the other part says alot of bad things are going to happen around me and my town will town into a Atlantic City.

    I'm for the lottery and bingo. The rest is bad news.
    I guess you can't have it both ways so it might be better to just get rid of all gambling. There is always the underground for those who have to do it.

  • SWEET-N-SOUR Feb 20, 2009

    Is Bingo not gambeling....heck they have Bingo with cash prizes at churches. Just another way the government can control our lives.

  • news4u Feb 20, 2009

    What are the odds of us coming out of this Depression?

  • news4u Feb 20, 2009

    Legalized Gambling?

    Sure, they do it on Wall Street and on Jones Street in Raleigh all of the time!

  • batcave Feb 20, 2009

    this is called applied ethics by stupid politicos, you apply your ethics when its convenient. Maybe he is affraid it will take away buisness from the dog and rooster fights.

  • Justin T. Feb 20, 2009

    So if the state needs money... legalize it? So I guess sin is only sin in a good economy. A sliding scale of morality.

    You know what else would generate quite a bit of tax money... CRACK! Let's get this economy going, people. Start passing out the crack pipes.

  • foetine Feb 20, 2009

    But the state would get their cut from Poker videogames - especially if they don't pay out directly.

  • hdsoftail Feb 20, 2009

    If you dont like something then dont do it. Why are people on this so hard. You may do something I dont like but I dont put it down long as it dont bother me. Just sounds like some people like to get into other peoples business. Mind you own.