Are Video Poker Machines Legal in North Carolina?

are video poker machines legal in nc

North Carolina lawmakers are taking steps to regulate North Carolina’s thriving illegal video gambling industry as sports betting moves toward legality. At Tuesday’s House Commerce Committee hearing, legislation proposed would license electronic sweepstakes games such as video poker or sweepstakes through a lottery license to operate legally and follow rules established by this body, with state revenues sharing in each machine’s profits. Rowan County Republican Rep. Harry Warren of Rowan County made this argument, noting there could be between 50,000 to 100,000 machines operating throughout North Carolina alone!

Video poker is a casino game based on five-card draw poker that can be played on a computerized console similar to slot machines. It was first developed during the 1970s when it became feasible to combine television-like monitors with solid state central processing units. These machines differ from traditional slot machines in that there is no dealer or other players to defeat; rather payoffs depend solely on each player’s hand compared against a payout table and any cards not held are discarded and new ones dealt in order to form what is known as their hand.

The bill would require all machines be situated within areas with alcohol beverage licenses, limit maximum payout to $1,000 per spin, prohibit weekend gambling and ban any machine not registered with the lottery commission from manufacture, sale, possession storage and operation; violations would be punished with up to one year imprisonment; however this would only apply to machines built or assembled after this law takes effect and would not impact existing machines already operating before its instatement.

Conservative Christian activists and liberal lawmakers oppose this proposal on grounds that more gaming will lead to gambling addiction among poor residents of the state, according to research which indicates a strong link between casino gaming and poverty levels in their state. Furthermore, additional casino gaming could put undue strain on an already overburdened state budget.

John Berger, the state lottery commissioner, cautioned that it’s unlikely the bill will become law this year and may need to wait for its consideration by legislators in 2024. Furthermore, any attempts at legalizing sports gambling may also have to wait until 2024 before approval; otherwise this might necessitate amending the Constitution.

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