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Charitable Poker Bill Vetoed in North Carolina

Written By: Maya Michaels | August 2, 2017 | Posted In Poker News

A bill that would have legalized charitable gambling including poker games in North Carolina was vetoed by the governor Ray Cooper.

Back in March, a Senate Bill 154: Charitable Fundraising for Non-profit Orgs was created by Senators Rick Gunn, Paul A. Lowe and Kathy Harrington.

The bill would allow the organizations and their partners to host casino and poker nights four times a year in order to raise money for charitable endeavors. The House and Senate supported the law by 76-32 and 27-15 votes respectively but Gov. Cooper rejected the law and explaining that the new law was a gateway for the video poker machine manufacturers to “infiltrate our communities”.

Nonprofits are currently allowed to operate bingo nights but many charities added other games to their repertoire and work in a quasi-legal manner. The legislature wanted to make the additional games fully legal and to allow charities and nonprofits with a liquor license to host game nights including roulette, blackjack, poker, craps, simulated horse racing and “merchandise wheel of fortune”.

The final category was the one that triggered the alarm for Governor Ray Cooper, because it means that any other game “specified in the permit application and approved by Alcohol Law Enforcement” will be allowed.

The Democratic governor who took office in January said in his veto, “I am not opposed to legitimate nonprofits holding an occasional ‘game night’ to help with donations to worthy causes. However, I believe this legislation as written could cause unintended consequences.”

“Allowing the industry to masquerade as a charity could cause unintended permits to be issued, and without tough criminal penalties, enforcement would be difficult.”

North Carolina is definitely one of the most conservative states when it comes to gambling and for years now, politicians and voters have been working hard to combat the expansion.

Easing restrictions on charitable gambling wouldn’t provide much money for the state. The North Carolina state would have required nonprofits to pay only $200 a year for a casino night permit. Despite this veto, the state still has the lottery and two tribal casinos set in the Great Smoky Mountains. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, that has a 20-table poker room, and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino that opened just two years ago.

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