Friday, June 02, 2006

Banning Video Poker In North Carolina

The House passed legislation on Wednesday that would ban video poker in North Carolina. The legislation was the result of several weeks of negotiations among legislators, sheriffs, and representatives of the employees and machine owners in the video poker industry. The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association supports the compromise bill. Wednesday’s vote on the committee substitute to SB 912 was approved 114 to 1, with Rep. John Blust (R-Guilford) as the only dissenting vote. The Senate is expected to approve the bill on Monday night.

The ban of video poker would be phased in over the next year, in order to give the more than 1,700 employees in the industry enough time to find a new job. The legislation would require current machine owners or businesses to downsize from their current maximum of three machines to two machines by October 1, 2006, and from two machines to one machine by March 1, 2007. A complete ban would take effect on July 1, 2007. Repeat offenders or those caught with five or more machines would be guilty of a felony. Current machine owners must sell their machines to individuals outside of North Carolina or to the Cherokee Casino in western North Carolina.

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