Video Gambling Opposed By Most
Special Report - February 26, 2010
A majority56 percentof North Carolina voters would oppose efforts to legalize video poker in the state, according to a poll of likely voters conducted by the John W. Pope Civitas Institute in January. While one-third of voters support the legalization of video poker, 11 percent remain unsure.
The results are similar regardless of party affiliation with 54 percent of both Democrat and Unaffiliated voters and 59 percent of Republican voters opposing legalization. Unaffiliated voters have the highest level of support at 37 percent. Support also varies by age with younger voters being more supportive of legalization (51 percent of 18-25 year olds) and older voters being less supportive (25 percent of voters over age 66). Women are much more opposed to legalization at 64 percent, as compared to 47 percent of men. Black voters are evenly split with 45 percent supporting and 45 percent opposing the legalization of video poker.
North Carolina law currently prohibits video poker gaming in the state, except for on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Western North Carolina. The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling upholding that statute as proper. However, there has been a precipitous increase in sweepstakes games since video poker was outlawed in 2007. These sweepstakes games operate under a loophole in the current law by selling phone cards, which are redeemable for phone or Internet services, but the cards also allow the purchaser to enter a sweepstakes game that is played on a video terminal resembling a video poker or slot machine. The industry claims the video machines are not illegal gambling devices, because the sale of the phone card provides the purchaser something of value, and the sweepstakes is just an added benefit, similar to the sweepstakes offered by soft drink and candy manufacturers.
“North Carolinians are clear in their opposition to legalizing video gambling in the state,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “There is no measurable difference between the gambling that has been outlawed, namely video poker, and gambling that is accessed by purchasing a negligible product. The General Assembly should make it a priority in this year’s Short Session to close the loopholes under which these gambling sweepstakes are operating.”
Copyright © 2010. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.