Carter Wrenn, a Republican political consultant, muses on his blog, Talking About Politics, about Internet sweepstakes.
"Who’d have thought it was possible – the Internet sweepstakes poker parlor folks have offered ‘to put $500 million’ in the state treasury – if the legislators will just see the light and let them stay in business.
"Whoever heard of anybody volunteering to pay half a billion dollars in taxes? You have to wonder how much people in North Carolina are spending while sitting in Internet sweepstakes parlors? A billion? $2 billion? $5 billion?
"The story started last year when legislators voted to close down the sweepstakes parlors and put ‘em out of business;---of course the sweepstakes parlor operators didn’t much like that so they sued and took their lawsuit all the way to the State Supreme Court. At the same time, in case their lawsuit didn’t work out, the parlor operators got a couple of friendly legislators to sponsor a new bill to let them stay open – and that’s when they dangled that $500 million carrot in front of legislators.
"And that’s not the only carrot: The newspaper reported sweepstakes operators also contributed $520,000 to politicians. And, a sweepstakes parlor operator told the News and Observer how, since last year, they’ve been spending $40,000 a week to pay lawyers and lobbyists.
"That’s eye opening too. The politicians received $520,000 in contributions – while the lawyers and lobbyists were paid $2 million. Four times as much. What does that say about the ‘market value’ of politicians as compared to lobbyists?"