The North Carolina Lottery is being lined up to regulate video gambling in the event a bill is passed to legalise it, as state lawmakers scrambled to endorse legislation this week, according to the Fresno Bee.
The proposed bill, which has already received approval from the House Commerce Committee, would legalize video lottery terminals in North Carolina as well as allowing bars, restaurants and off-licences to install up to 10 machines.
All prospective venues are said to require a licence and be properly vetted before they can implement any machines.
The bill is being introduced to combat the number of illegal video lottery terminals currently in the state, with bill sponsors explaining that regulating VLT’s properly is better than having illegal operators.
Rep. Harry Warren, a Rowan County Republican and bill sponsor, told the Fresno Bee: “We pass a law; they change the game. They dance around; we pass another law. They do the same.
“This is not just an off-the-cuff ‘let’s go and make them all legal.’ That’s exactly the opposite of what we’re trying to do.”
Warren predicted that the number of legal VLTs under the terms of the bill could be 70% fewer than the number of machines that are now operating in the state illegally.
Despite this claim, those against the bill reiterate that it in fact does not outlaw those VLT operators who are currently acting ‘illegally’.
Those against the bill told the Fresno Bee that VLTs are the “crack cocaine of gambling”.
Eddie Caldwell of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, which opposes the legislation, added: “This bill doesn’t eliminate the machines that are already there. It just adds a large number of additional machines to continue to prey on our citizens.
The players, he explained, “are not high-roller folks that can afford to go to Vegas, but these are folks that are betting their rent money and their grocery money”.
Proponents of the bill have stipulated that all those who want to offer VLTs must hold a licence and warned that criminal checks will be included in the application process.
Additionally, the NC Lottery intends to impose a central monitoring system to link the terminals, each of which would have a permit attached to the machine. NCL added that any of the machines not on the CMS network would be considered ‘unlawful’.