Video poker making a comeback?

Eyewitness News investigates secretive slot parlors popping in the Heart of Carolina.

February 11, 2011 6:54:11 PM PST
ABC11 has learned the governor is considering asking North Carolina legislators to legalize video gambling to help with the state's budget crisis.Right now, the idea is mostly just talk, but Cumberland County Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler says he and numerous other law officers across the state oppose the idea.

He says when it comes to legalizing gambling, no matter how you cut the deck, its a bad deal.

"There is no way the state is going to gain by legalizing this to collect revenue off of it," Butler said.

The state outlawed video poker machines in 2007.

For years, Sheriff Butler led the charge against illegal video gambling. In numerous raids he confiscated hundreds of video poker machines, and millions of dollars in cash.

He's also whole heartedly in favor of banning all internet sweepstake gambling.

But the governor and some state legislators realize gambling profits are enormous --its estimated the state could earn nearly $580 million a year from legalized and heavily regulated video poker machines.

Several internet sweepstakes customers tell ABC11 that they like the idea of legalized gambling, and say at least this way taxpayers could have a little fun giving the state money.

However, Sheriff Butler says it's not worth it.

"I would hate to think we would have to start all over, not us the governor," Butler said. "If she approves it, they will have to police it because we certainly won't. "We would support them as much as we could. We just don't have the people to do it."

The North Carolina Education Lottery would run the gambling operation.

They're already holding informal talks with companies that operate video lottery games. However, nothing will be done until state lawmakers decide if they want to get into the gambling business.

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