Illicit video gambling parlors are preying on families across North Carolina, and we must take action to end this harmful activity in our state. A measure is presently pending in the State House that would go a long way toward addressing this problem, and you can TAKE A STAND to see that it is enacted into law!
In an Op-Ed published in the Charlotte Observer last September, NC Family President John Rustin stated, “North Carolina’s sheriffs see first-hand the criminal activity that video sweepstakes parlors invite and the harm they cause for our citizens and their vulnerable families. Decades of research clearly show the undeniable link between gambling and increases in crime, theft, divorce, domestic violence, child abuse, personal debt, bankruptcy and even suicide. Our many and varied houses of worship in this state often confront these devastating impacts as they seek to serve parishioners and their loved ones who have been victimized by illegal gambling.”
Video gambling machines are the “crack cocaine” of gambling, according to MIT Professor Natasha Dow Schull. “Every feature of a slot machine—its mathematical structure, visual graphics, sound dynamics, seating and screen ergonomics—is calibrated to increase a gambler’s ‘time on device’ and to encourage ‘play to extinction,’ which is industry jargon for playing until all your money is gone.”
While the possession and operation of video sweepstakes machines is illegal in North Carolina, the sweepstakes industry has worked tirelessly to try to circumvent the system and challenge laws that are passed.
Senator Andy Wells (R-Catawba) led the effort on a measure during the 2017 session of the NC General Assembly that would make the possession of more than four video sweepstakes machines a Class G felony, and would force the operators to forfeit the machines. HB 577 was supported by NC Family, the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, and other policy organizations. It passed by an overwhelming majority in the Senate, but was referred to the Judiciary III Committee in the House just before adjournment in June last year. Now that the General Assembly is back in session, NC Family is working hard to educate House members on the merits of the bill and to encourage citizens to contact their representatives to urge passage of this critical measure.
Please TAKE ACTION by contacting your State Representative via the NC Family Action Center and asking him or her to support HB 577! When you do, let them know why you support HB 577:
Thank you for standing up for NC Families by voicing your support for HB 577!