NORTH CAROLINA - As reported by the Charlotte Observer: House Speaker Jim Black plans to propose a phase-out of video poker in North Carolina, a reversal from his longtime role as the industry's defender
Jim Black is now proposing a one-year phase out of video poker in North Carolina.
and likely the death knell for the gambling machines.
Black, a Mecklenburg Democrat, told the Observer on Tuesday that he supports phasing out video poker because the new state lottery provides another source of revenue for convenience stores and potential employment for those who work in the video poker industry.
He said a one-year phase-out period will give machine owners time to sell the machines in another state and recoup their investment.
"It's a compromise and that's what the legislature is about," Black said in explaining why he wouldn't propose an immediate ban.
Black expects legislation to be introduced in the House within the next week by Rep. Bill Owens, a Pasquotank Democrat.
"It's time to say goodbye to that industry," said Rep. Dewey Hill, a Columbus County Democrat who supports a ban on the machines and attended a meeting Monday night where Black disclosed his plans.
Black's switch comes after State Board of Elections hearings in March revealed possibly illegal donations to Black's campaign from video poker operators. The board referred the industry's political committee and 18 people tied to video poker operations to the Wake County district attorney for possible criminal prosecution. There was no evidence Black knew what transpired