Is putting a high tax on video poker machines a good idea?

By Gary McNair - bio|email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Last fall I did a commentary about the influx of sweepstakes places that seemed to be springing up overnight.  I advocated stopping them before it was too late.  I'd seen this movie before in another state.

There's a saying in Vegas -- the house always wins.  So conventional wisdom would tell us if we can't beat 'em, we join 'em.  And that's what it looks like the city of Wilmington is thinking about doing.

The city already charges a nominal fee to operate each machine in the city.  Now it's considering increasing that nominal fee to $3,000 each.  In other words, the city wants its cut of the jackpot.  It could bring in $1.5 million they desperately need to plug a budget hole.

Let me tell you why this is not a good idea.  Once the city gets used to the money, it becomes dependent, and just like a drug addiction, it will need to keep feeding that dependency, and because of that, the gambling joints become entrenched.

These places have already become eye sores and we don't need to be growing that problem.  Getting in bed with sweepstakes parlors is a bet the city of Wilmington cannot afford to make.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at

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