Christian Action League
Dear Citizen Christian,
You may already know that the state Legislature banned video poker in 2006. But gaming operators have been most adept in circumventing the law by modifying their electronic games so the rules no longer apply. In 2010, the Legislature passed another law banning video sweepstakes – games that essentially replaced video poker that simulate slot machines and other forms of casino style gambling. Unfortunately, the North Carolina Appeals Court ruled against the banning of sweepstakes machines in March – a decision that has been appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court. Since the Appeals Court ruling, sweepstakes parlors or internet cafes have spread across the state like a wildfire.
This electronic form of gaming has often been referred to by experts on addiction as the “crack cocaine” of gambling. Already in our state, nearly 9 out of 10 calls to the state’s Council on Problem Gambling hotline are related to sweepstakes machines.
The North Carolina Sheriff’s Association considers the sweepstakes cafes the same as video poker machines. “It’s legalized stealing from people who don’t really know they’re being stolen from,” Eddie Caldwell, Sheriff’s Association executive vice president, told the Virginia-Pilot in March.
Before, the current legislative biennium there has always been a majority of lawmakers in the General Assembly who opposed sweepstakes gaming and wanted to see a ban crafted that would stand up in court. But there is a movement now to give up that fight and tax the internet cafes as a means of state revenue. Earlier this month, Governor Perdue called on the General Assembly to tax sweepstakes cafes as a way of raising money for education.
For all of us concerned about North Carolina becoming a gambling haven, these recent developments should be alarming. More alarming still, is the fact that tomorrow morning (8:30 am) in the House Finance Committee, legislation (HB 1180 – Video Sweepstake Entertainment Tax) to tax and regulate video sweepstakes for revenue purposes will be put forward. If this legislation passes in committee, it’s plausible the measure could be on the House floor for a vote by the afternoon.
My friend, if sweepstakes are ever legitimized by taxation as an acceptable source of revenue, it is unlikely that we will ever get a ban on this scourge in our state.
You should contact your House member NOW and let him/her know that you are against any legislation that would legitimize internet cafes by taxing them as a revenue source. You should tell them to persevere in their efforts to ban this insidious industry.
Think of it! – Las Vegas style casinos in western North Carolina, internet sweepstakes dotting every county, a state operated lottery – is this the North Carolina we want for our children and grandchildren?
If you don’t contact your House member about this matter immediately, the North Carolina House could vote to make these predatory video sweepstakes parlors in your community permanent.
Many of you have contacted me about this matter again and again, asking me, “What’s being done to get rid of these places?” Until now, we’ve always had the upper hand – confident there were enough legislators committed to ensuring that a ban would ultimately succeed. But today there is strong sentiment among both Republicans and Democrats in favor of gambling and unless your Representative in the North Carolina House hears from you right away, the fight to ban video sweepstakes could take a fatal hit.
Rev. Mark H. Creech
P.S. Please forward this alert to all like-minded Citizen Christians.
Silence in the face of evil, is evil itself.
Take Christian Action Today!
Contact the office of your Representative immediately. Ask him/her to vote against HB 1180 – Video Sweepstakes Entertainment Tax. Tell him/her that North Carolina already has enough gambling. With Las Vegas style casinos to come in the western part of the state and a state operated lottery, the state doesn’t need video sweepstakes, the crack cocaine of gambling, throughout every county. No amount of money needed for state budget needs is worth it.
The most effective approach is an email followed up by a phone call. Let your lawmaker know that you are deeply concerned. Make certain that your tone and remarks are always respectful.
To know who represents you in the NC House and their contact information click here. Then, click ‘Take Action,’ fill out or make any necessary edits to your information, and click ‘Continue.’ You can then click your Representative’s name to see their phone number to call their office, and you can click ‘Send Message’ to submit your written message to your Representative.