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Veteran state capital journalist Scott Mooneyham frequently has some of the best takes on the developments in Raleigh and the column cross-posted below (which was distributed yesterday by the NC Insider) is another example:

Your Winnings, Sir
By Scott Mooneyham
March 18, 2013

RALEIGH — One of the most fascinating news conferences that I ever attended came during the tenure of former Democratic state House Speaker Jim Black.

Black was defending legislation to legalize video poker, trying to make the point that the industry created jobs. My predecessor in this columnist gig, Paul O’Connor, had a simple question for the House speaker: How about prostitution?

“It’s jobs too,” O’Connor said.

He wasn’t serious about legalizing prostitution. O’Connor was trying to make the point that plenty of other morally questionable and currently illegal behavior could generate jobs too, if that were the only criteria that lawmakers need consider. Read More

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Here’s a smidgen of good news for the holidays: Forces promoting legalized online gambling have decided to drop their efforts for now. As we reported in last week’s edition of the Weekly Briefing,  the casino industry had been advancing a proposal in Congress to legalize fully-fledged, 365-days-a-year, 24-hours-a day, online gambling for cash for the first time in our nation’s history.

Fortunately, for now, the proposal has been abandoned. Unfortunately, however, you can bet (for cash or chips) that the industry will be back in 2013.

(Image: Zynga.com).

Today’s Fitzsimon File (“The kind of state we want”) rightfully takes Governor Perdue and conservative legislative leaders to task for the decision to expand predatory gambling in North Carolina (and even to celebrate it as the Guv is doing today).

Not only does the expansion encourage exploitation of vulnerable people, it also strengthens a hand-in-glove link between government and some of our nation’s most predatory corporations. And, as was noted in this piece earlier this year, that relationship merely re-enforces the toxic and destructive notion amongst the general public that their government is out to rip them off.   

All in all, today’s development represents just another step away from Bedford Falls and toward Pottersville for North Carolina.

 

Paul Woolverton of the Fayetteville Observer has an excellent story this morning about the House’s all-of-a-sudden flirtation with legalzing and regulating “sweepstakes” gambling parlors. We’ll have more later today about this idea in the Weekly Briefing, but most of what you need to know about this whole “industry” was revealed yesterday by Woolverton as he tweeted about the committee meeting in real time.

During the hearing, bill sponsor, Rep. Bill Owens, was asked about the idea of expanding legalized gambling in the state. Here was his response as tweeted by Woolverton:

“It’s not really gambling, it’s predetermined you’re going to lose.”

Great! That sounds like a fine new business for the state to bless.  

 

 

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Guess which group of predatory businesses (according to this very sobering story in Bloomberg Businessweek)  are, à la the gambling industry, using Indian tribes as a way of getting around state consumer protection laws?

Why it’s the bottom-feeding payday lender crowd!!

Sounds like the introduction of casino gambling into the state might just be the first of many more fun ways to bring the true genius of the unfettered free market to the Old North State.