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Attorney: Fight To Block Video Poker Ban Will Continue

Posted β€” Updated

RALEIGH, N.C. β€” A Wake County judge Thursday refused to block a new law that aims to end video poker in North Carolina, but the game's backers are not folding.

The video-poker industry had filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court Sept. 14 challenging the

phase-out of poker machines

, by a law the General Assembly passed in its 2005-2006 session.

Court Order

In turning down the request for a temporary restraining order, Superior Court Judge Narley L. Cashwell said the plantiffs had failed to demonstrate immediate and irreparable harm or that they were likely to prevail on the merits of the case.

The industry's attorney, Gene Boyce, said it's not the end of the road for his clients, however. He said he plans to seek a permanent injunction, which is a much longer process.

"Everybody else, including the state, can engage in games of chance, but my clients are criminals if they continue to do so in disobedience to this new law," he said.

Boyce had referred to the lawsuit as the "Chuck E. Cheese's" defense and contended that the games at amusement centers, such as Chuck E. Cheese's, Adventure Landing, and Bullwinkle's, could be lumped in with video poker.

Rep. Nelson Dollar voted for the ban, and he said Thursday that it's overdue.

"This is an industry that has generated thousands if not millions of dollars in illegal gambling. There's no way to account for it or tax it. It's totally off the books," said Dollar.

The phase-out is set to begin on Oct. 1. The process will reduce the number of machines any retailer could operate or distributor set up at one location from three now to none by July 1, 2007.

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