Local News

State Senate Panel Raises Concerns Over House's Lottery Bill

Posted April 20, 2005 6:26 a.m. EDT

— Some state senators raised questions Wednesday about whether the lottery bill that the House passed two weeks ago would allow for video poker and online games at home.

A special Senate panel met for the first time to look closer at the details of the House proposal.

Several senators who oppose a lottery questioned language the bill they said could lead to games beyond scratch-off tickets and lottos. Sen. Dan Clodfelter, D-Mecklenburg County, said afterward that the bill seems to allow for video gambling of all types.

"You could have kids sitting at home playing [gambling games] on their computer terminals and there would really be no way to stop that," said Clodfelter.

The committee chairman, Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland County, said he was also concerned with the language and believes the Senate likely will consider an amended version of the bill.

"There are questions that come up, that came along that [the House] didn't think about, so sure, I suspect it will be changed, " Rand said.

That could cause trouble over the House, where Speaker Jim Black is worried any changes may break the fragile two-seat coalition that approved the bill.

There were also questions about who would run the lottery program and where the profits would go.

"As a businessman, I feel like we'd do better if we let private enterprise do as much as we can, because they'll deal efficiencies, profit, and would maximize what a lottery could be," said Sen. Tom Apodaka, R-Buncombe County.

Rand said the committee will meet again next week. Any changes the Senate makes to the bill will have to go back to the House for approval.