Please contact Representatives in the House Judiciary right away!
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League,
June 7, 2013
RALEIGH — It may sound like a match made in heaven — needy non-profits meet gambling enthusiasts and a good time can be had by all — if only lawmakers will lighten up and legalize casino nights. But the truth is H 809, Game Nights/Nonprofit Fundraisers is a sure bet to do little more for the Tar Heel state than roll out the red carpet for the growing gambling industry and its accompanying ills.
“Taking something illicit and declaring it honorable as long as it’s done in the name of charity is misleading. I realize that the scope of this legislation is meant to be limited. But no one in should fail to recognize, for even a moment, the progressive nature of gaming – in any form. I do not believe that the sponsors of this bill, people for whom I have great respect, want gambling spread all over our state. Nevertheless, this bill is, as one of my colleagues has said in the past, “gambling on training wheels.” And make no mistake; because of gambling’s progressive nature; it sets the stage for the unintended consequence of the spread of casino style gambling across our great North Carolina. This is a huge mistake!” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “We urge Christians to phone lawmakers who will be taking up this misguided measure in the House Judiciary Committee and ask them to put an end to it now.”
Various forms of so-called Monte Carlo nights have been suggested at the General Assembly for more than a decade. The latest proposal would allow any nonprofit organization to partner with an ABC permit holder to host gambling events — complete with roulette, blackjack, poker, craps, keno and wheel of fortune games — as long as they used non-cash prizes and made sure not to spend more than half the profits headed to the charity. Individual nonprofits could hold four such five-hour events per year, and facilities could host up to two gaming nights per month.
Proponents of the measure claim there are safeguards to keep the events on the up and up, and the House Commerce Committee voted 27-18 last month to recommend the bill. But the North Carolina Family Policy Council pointed out its many problems in a legislative alert e-mailed this week, not the least of which is the fact that it would invite new or expanded for-profit gambling interests to the state and encourage further lawsuits attempting to legalize poker and related gambling statewide.
“As recently as 2005, state courts have ruled against attempts to legalize poker clubs and similar ‘live’ gambling activities in North Carolina,” the NCFPC alert explained. “The passage of HB 809, however, would give gambling proponents a stronger foothold to argue their case, since these activities would be legal for certain entities and not others if HB 809 is enacted into law.”
The Family Policy Council memo also pointed out that the bill would legalize the possession and use of “gaming tables” currently prohibited by general statutes and would potentially jeopardize state revenues generated from the compact between North Carolina and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Dr. Creech said the bill would make gambling more accessible and increase the odds for people to become problem or pathological gamblers.
“With it, there will be crime, corruption, and other problems invariably related to casino gambling,” he told the Commerce Committee last month. “We know this in part because in states like Michigan, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Indiana, charitable forms of gambling have already been found considerably problematic.”
Beyond these issues, he said the bottom line is that gambling in any form is predicated on the loss and pain of others, that it never fulfills its promises, and that it undermines the principles of hard work and diligence.
“It capitalizes on the basest of human nature — our greed and a spirit of covetousness,” Dr. Creech said. “Further, adding alcohol to the mix only greases the wheels for the exacerbation of these negative behaviors.”
He said lawmakers faced with casino night bills since 2001 have seen the wisdom in not advancing the proposals, and he’s hopeful those in the current Legislature will follow suit.
“Nonetheless, they need to hear from their constituents that gambling is not the way to raise funds, no matter how wonderful the cause,” he said. “E-mail members of the Judiciary Committee today.”
URGENT: TAKE CHRISTIAN ACTION NOW
This legislation may pass unless you take the time now to respond by sending a pre-written email to members of the House Judiciary Committee.
If this legislation passes, it will not only make it likely that Casino gambling will be taking place in a city or town near you via a restaurant or hotel, etc., but it sets the stage for full-fledged Las Vegas style gambling to become legal across the state.
Please express your opposition to this measure by clicking here.