Upping the Ante
Opponents of the North Carolina lottery (including us) argued that it would soon lead to even more insidious forms of publicly sanctioned gambling.
Sure enough, Alice Garland, executive director of what is so euphemistically called "The North Carolina Education Lottery," now says she is considering introducing keno games. The proposed step is apparently authorized under existing law.
We don't know any more about electronic keno than the average Tar Heel resident, which is probably not much. But it is described as "a game popular in the Northeast and Midwest that is dangerously akin to video poker in its addictiveness."
By coincidence, another close cousin of video poker, video sweepstakes games, are apparently legal again, since a panel of the state Court of Appeals has now struck down the sweepstakes ban that the General Assembly passed in 2010. In these games, which may now be reappearing in your local gas station, you buy Internet time in the usually vain hope of clicking your way to riches.
Keno is different. The sucker - er, player - buys a ticket with numbers on it. The addictiveness part comes when the winning numbers keep changing every four or five minutes, egging on the gambler to keep forking over more dollars for more tickets. The existing lottery is tamer in that it draws only a few winning numbers per week.
Our argument against the original lottery was that it is beneath the dignity of state government to raise revenue by playing on the gullibility of people who can least afford it - in games whose odds are, by definition, rigged in favor of the house.
Keno appears to have all those same flaws - in spades. Who needs it?
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