State Doesn't Need 'Sweepstakes Games'
You can dress video poker up like an “Internet sweepstakes game,” but it’s still video poker.
That’s what the N.C. General Assembly is in the process of deciding. And it’s the right decision to make, regardless of the selfish outcry being raised in Raleigh by those who stand to benefit greatly from the continued operation of these addictive online casinos, which serve no valid social purpose and bilk their players out of millions of dollars they can ill afford to lose.
Last week, the state Senate voted 47-1 for legislation to shut down these businesses, where people buy phone or Internet time allowing them to play games on computer screens to win cash and prizes. The bill is now before the House. The number of locations offering the machines has soared to more than 600 in recent months, according to Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, sponsor of the Senate bill..
“We need to make crystal clear once and for all that running an Internet sweepstakes casino violates North Carolina laws,” Stein said, noting that the games are “popping up in strip malls, targeting low-income communities across our state.”
In Moore County, one such parlor operates in the Olmsted Village shopping complex, within the municipal limits of Taylortown. Its owner asserts that the activity he offers is “really just a sweepstakes” whose outcomes are predetermined and which merely gives customers a way to while away the time. But we remain unconvinced. The machines still require constant stoking with new money while holding out unrealistic hopes of bestowing riches on lucky winners.
Parlor operators across the state argue that shuttering the parlors will cost operators big bucks, comparing them to the “North Carolina Education Lottery” (also a mistake). Some have pushed for legalizing the operations and then obtaining new revenue for the state by taxing them.
No. The state already has more than enough gambling money on its hands. Shut ’em down.
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