The Senate took a bill that came over from the House, gutted it and substituted language that would ban video poker and Internet sweepstakes cafes. House bill 80 was approved by the Senate Judiciary I Committee and is slated for a vote on the Senate floor Monday night (6/21). If approved then the House would only have to concur with the new language.
Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight, who rarely attends press conferences, headlined one backed by the bill sponsors, law enforcement officers, clergy and a representative of the Family Policy Council. One sheriff said the poker and sweepstakes are not small businesses. He said they found a million dollars hidden in the walls of a home of a person who ran games.
A ban doesn’t have as much support over in the House at this point. House Speaker Joe Hackney supports it but Democratic Majority Leader Hugh Holliman doesn’t think there will be action this session.
Some members of House, including members of the Black Caucus, support authorizing the games and then taxing them for revenue. Even House leaders are saying they shouldn’t close all doors to new revenue but they won’t commit to saying this is one of those doors.