Gambling Against Gambling
January 18, 1998
Richard Brian McCarty
This week South Carolina governor David Beasley showed courage. At
the beginning of an election year, Governor Beasley stood up against the powerful video
poker interests in South Carolina. The Governor called video poker a "cancer" on
South Carolina, and said that we were at a juncture in our state where we chose who we
Rarely has any Governor hit an issue so squarely upon the head. Video poker has
been a cancer on South Carolina since it was determined to be legal by the South Carolina
Supreme Court. ( A decision in which invalidated the voters in several counties who chose
at the polls to ban video poker pay-outs.) No other form of gambling is allowed in South
Carolina. Only the video poker machines enjoy legal status.
However, those really can not be considered gambling. A video poker machine is a
computer. Forget for a moment the right and wrong of gambling. It is a computer that is
programmed to win for the owner. There is no chance of winning more than what the owner
would put at stake. There is no true gambling. It is merely a donation to some machine
owner. The more seedy elements have been quick to move into South Carolina to set up video
poker shops for the shake down they can do through their machines. Who needs to bet on
sporting events, or even human card dealers, when you have a machine set to win so much
money for you?
However, to some, video poker seems to give the thrill of gambling. That thrill
often finds itself more desired in the hearts of the poor. They want a quick way out.
Rolling the dice, so to speak, for the quick fix seems easier. As they do it more and
more, they grow addicted to the thrill. With that increased addiction, they donate more
and more money to the owners of the machines.
Addicts fail to realize with video poker, there is no gambling. They will lose.
The game is rigged, so to speak. All the most vulnerable of our society do is give their
money to the more seedy elements. Why South Carolina liberals do not join the Governor in
fighting this exploitation is beyond comprehension.
Governor Beasley has made the choice clear for South Carolina, and for any other
state that faces similar situations. At this exciting time of growth and opportunity in
our state, are we to become a state that allows the more seedy elements to pray off the
dreams and fears of the more vulnerable of our state, or are we going to be a state that
stands up to the seedy element ? The coming debate will define our state, will define who
we are as South Carolinians. Governor Beasley has had the courage to say no to one of the
most funded interests in our state to define South Carolina as a state where preying off
the vulnerable is not acceptable. I hope that the people of South Carolina join him.
Richard Brian McCarty has worked on several political campaigns of conservatives. He
holds a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina and a BS degree from Lander
University. An experienced writer, McCarty's columns are written from a distinctly
Southern point of view. He is sometimes Southern, sometimes conservative, sometimes
humorous, and sometimes all three.