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Chris Fitzsimon: No video poker for schools

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Funding for North Carolina schools and human services in the next few years might not only depend on how many people the state can convince to waste their money on a lottery ticket, but also how many folks can be persuaded to throw their money away on video poker machines.

Recently we learned that Gov. Beverly Perdue is seriously considering a proposal to legalize video poker to raise revenue to help address the state's $3.7 billion shortfall. That recommendation may come in Perdue's State of the State speech tonight and in the budget she will submit to lawmakers shortly after her address.

Legislators have three choices when it comes to video poker. They could adjust the ban passed last session to take into account recent legal challenges. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said that he thinks most lawmakers still support the ban. They could legalize video poker and let the industry run wild and put video sweepstakes terminals on every corner and not worry about the effects on poor neighborhoods and struggling families. There's not too much support for that notion, though some libertarian leaning lawmakers might find it appealing.

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart