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Opinion Letters N.C. is already in the gaming business

Nearly two weeks ago, the N.C. Education Lottery distributed to the video gaming industry across the state a “Request for Information” on video lottery terminals. The process will allow the governor and state officials an opportunity to learn about how the video gaming industry operates in our state and how they could look at various models to regulate and tax video gaming.

Let’s face it, people like playing internet-based sweepstakes and “Pot of Gold” machines. It’s entertaining and as long as there is a demand from customers, the market and technology will supply the demand.

As we move forward to discuss the public policy side of video gaming, we need to make sure we protect North Carolina jobs. Today, there are nearly 9,000 people working in the video gaming industry, either in sweepstakes or with “Pot of Gold” machines in convenience stores and taverns.

The Internet Based Sweepstakes Organization believes the state should regulate and tax video gaming but the industry should be private sector driven. We don’t support legislation that would export our jobs and money to Las Vegas or a foreign based gaming company.

The internet-based sweepstakes industry can in a matter of weeks provide a stream of revenue for the state that is currently untapped. With those revenues, the video gaming industry will get state oversight, state enforcement and state accountability. The regulations would provide a level playing field for all the operators and ensure the consumer a positive experience and clear cut guidelines on how the games will be governed.

As the Governor and Legislature stare down a $2.7 billion deficit, regulating and taxing video gaming could provide good jobs and more than $500 million a year without raising taxes. It just makes good sense. North Carolina is already in the gaming business. The video gaming business is operating in the state. Once and for all, let’s regulate it and tax it and move on to other important public policy issues.

Chase Brooks
NC Internet Based Sweepstakes Organization
Graham, N.C.

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