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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 2, February 2011, Posted On: 1/27/2011

Prediction: NC Gov Will Legalize Poker And Sweeps Viddies - For State Lottery

Marcus Webb
Gov. Bev Perdue, John Hood, John Locke Foundation, sweepstakes café, sweepstakes video game, Internet café, video game, adult redemption, video poker, video lottery, North Carolina Lottery, lottery game, Chase Brooks, Front Edge Marketing, Internet Based Sweepstakes Organization

CHARLOTTE, NC -- Gov. Bev Perdue next month will propose legalization of payoff video poker and Internet sweepstakes videogames with big cash prizes. That was the prediction published Jan. 24 by political commentator John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, a North Carolina think tank promoting libertarian politics. | SEE STORY

But Hood also predicted that Perdue will bypass existing operators in favor of awarding the entire poker or sweepstakes market to the state's lottery division. Hood echoed the views of Chase Brooks, owner of Front Edge Marketing (Chapel Hill, NC), who is also president of the Internet Based Sweepstakes Organization.

As reported earlier by VT, Perdue publicly hinted that she might favor legalization of sweepstakes videogames. | SEE STORY

According to Hood: "One option would be to repeal such prohibitions and simply have the state and localities regulate the private, competitive industry and reap tax revenue from it. The other option, the one I think the Perdue administration is actively considering, would be to legalize it but exclude most of the current operators by giving the lottery commission a monopoly on video gambling in the state -- a monopoly it would likely award by contract to a major national player in the industry."

Hood said he personally favors the private legalization option, but pointed to comments by Purdue that if the sweepstakes or poker industries were going to be permitted, they must be "controlled."

The ISBO president, who is an operator of sweepstakes cafés, made a similar prediction in the current issue of VT. "The state government here is looking at taking sweepstakes games away from the business community and putting it under the lottery," Brooks said.

Both Brooks and Hood agree that Perdue might legalize pokers or sweeps games, or both, to help make up the state's projected $3.7 billion deficit.

But Brooks said if Perdue does award the market to the lottery, it might prove unpopular among voters because "money paid to North Carolina's contract lottery operator goes overseas."

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