State News

Appeals court backs N.C. video poker ban

Posted December 22, 2009 10:45 a.m. EST
Updated December 22, 2009 1:48 p.m. EST

— The North Carolina Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court ruling that could have again allowed video poker machines to operate statewide.

The ruling Tuesday by the state Court of Appeals supports an agreement that gives the state's Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians the sole right to operate gambling games on tribal land. The Cherokees operate a casino on their reservation that employs hundreds of people and provides each tribal member with thousands of dollars of income per year.

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ruled in February that a video poker law approved by the General Assembly in 2006 violated federal law excluding the tribe's casino from a state ban.

The state law was passed in reaction to real and perceived corruption linked to video poker operators.

Representatives of the video poker industry said in a statement that they would continue fighting to again legalize the games in North Carolina.

"We are going to keep plowing the field," the statement said. "The public supports a regulated video gaming industry because they understand people are playing the games and a failure to tax video gaming is leaving millions of dollars on the table."

Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight praised the appellate court ruling.

"We worked for so long to try to rid our state of this awful industry. I am very pleased that the Court of Appeals decision will uphold the ban passed by the General Assembly," Basnight said in a statement.