WRAL Investigates

Lawmaker suggests taxing Internet gaming

Posted April 28, 2010

— Could Internet gaming become legal in North Carolina?

Some key state lawmakers are entertaining the idea, saying it could be a way to raise revenue in tough budget times.

"It might be a way to incorporate this under the lottery," Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston, said Wednesday. "People are going to do it, legally or illegally. Let's look at legalizing it, possibly, and enjoying some revenue from it."

Tax Internet gaming? Tax Internet gaming?

A number of cities across the state already collect revenue from Internet sweepstakes games in the form of a privilege tax.

Recent court rulings protect the games in the state, even though North Carolina's attorney general and lawmakers like House Majority Leader Joe Hackney, D-Orange, argue they are illegal and should be banned.

Lawmakers are likely poised to outlaw businesses trying to get around the state's 4-year-old video poker ban when the General Assembly reconvenes in May.

Known as "sweepstakes cafes," the businesses sell players blocks of time to play games of chance on computers or cell phones.

Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger said Wednesday that he is also open to the idea of taxing and regulating the games.

"I certainly think it's something that probably should be part of the discussion," Berger, R-Rockingham, said.

William Thevaos, a spokesman with the video gaming industry, said he supports Hoyle's idea of the state regulating and taxing the games but that they should still be run by private enterprise.

"We believe, by regulating video gaming, you can protect consumers, provide a controlled market and generate a new revenue stream for the state without having to raise taxes," Thevaos said.


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  • chfdcpt Apr 29, 2010

    wayneboyd, worst part is that we have allowed the demoplicans and repucrats rule the roost. Everytime there is talk about a third party canditate, they change the rules so that they stay in power. The career politicians love to tell me how great the 2 party system is, and I remind them that they are giving me 1 more choice than what the Soviet Union used to do.

    And you are right, I do not vote for any incumbent.

  • wayneboyd Apr 29, 2010

    Add to the above. This is if the employer is only going to pay the new hire three hundred dollars per week. This will allow the new hire to net after taxes and ins. approximately 200.00 After his living expenses gas, food, lodging, clothes etc. he won't be able to afford the 99 cent biscuit either so the economy is one more non taxpaying American. At tax time he'll be able to file for a tax refund.

  • wayneboyd Apr 29, 2010

    chfdcp...What a thought why not adopt a motto for the coming election."LEAVE NO INCUMBENT LEFT UNSEATED.' If just once we the people throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater, I think maybe Washington and Raleigh might just get the message. I swear if a monkey runs against an incumbent, I'm voting for the monkey, there's no way we can do any worse.
    I can't believe that politicians are dumb enough to think that giving an employer a 200 tax incentive toward an employees healthcare is going to create any jobs.
    Example if a fast food place sells egg biscuits for breakfast at .99 and profits 15 cents per biscuit, this new employee is going to have to increase biscuit sales by 2000 biscuits each week to earn just his base pay. The problem the restaurant ower is confronting is not a lack of employees, it's a lack of john Q public not having the .99 for the biscuit in the first place.

  • chfdcpt Apr 29, 2010

    Garnerwolf, I am surprised. Very rarely do I see anyone else say that we the electorate are the blame.

    Maybe this can spread, and no demoplicans or repucrats will be sent back to the legislatures.

  • Finz Up Apr 29, 2010

    "Complain all you want, but no matter how you cut it, if you are of legal voting age, (and legal for that matter), you are partially responsible."

    You are right and it's unfortunate.....This is the price we pay when people vote based on "cool points" and fancy campaign slogans. I have no problem saying that the majority of our population are politically lazy and stupid. This is how you end up with a man running the country who has never had a real job in his life.

  • Finz Up Apr 29, 2010

    More taxes are obviously an easier solution than actually trimming waste. Wish I could run my business the way the government runs......I run low on funds I just come up with a few new taxes. Must be nice for uncle sam to have no competition. All he has to do right now is worry about keeping entitlement lovers content.

  • Worland Apr 29, 2010

    Has Obama figured out a way to tax the volcano yet? I'm sure it's just a matter of time before we get the pleasure of paying some volcano relief tax. What's next, taxing band-aids? Oh wait, he already passed that tax.

  • Garnerwolf1 Apr 29, 2010

    "WILL ANYONE TELL ME WHY I HAVE TO PAY NC TAX ON MY SATELLITE TV SERVICE?" It's simple. Because the Legislators that 'we the people' voted in, passed a law that said you had to. Ultimately, WE are responsible for every tax that exists because WE vote in the politicians that pass the laws that create the taxes. Complain all you want, but no matter how you cut it, if you are of legal voting age, (and legal for that matter), you are partially responsible.

  • tbajr Apr 29, 2010

    If the lawmakers do not have any constitutional issues to tackle, why do not they just go home instead of trying to find another way to tax something! Go home.

  • gotsomesense Apr 29, 2010

    Funny how our "morality" can change in a tough budget year isn't it? Is there some reason, besides individual control and the erosion of personal rights, that people are "banned" from playing video poker now? I don't drink, gamble, or use drugs, but it's not because of any legislation - it's because of my personal decisions. Why are we always trying to take away people's rights to live as they see fit. I understand having laws against drunk driving, or any other regulation that protects society from the acts of individuals, but really I think that banning any type of harmless internet activity is reaching by the holier-than-thou who dwell among us...