Rep. Earl Jones is trying his luck at video poker.
A House committee began discussing but took no action on a bill sponsored by Jones that would legalize video poker in North Carolina, while giving the state 20 percent of the gaming profits. The state banned the machines in 2006.
The legislature is being pushed by recent court decisions falling on the side of video poker, saying the state cannot ban the games while allowing them on Native American reservations. The case is being reviewed by higher courts.
Proponents argue that such games could bring the state an extra $480 million in revenue and support about 35,000 jobs in the state at a time when money is needed. But others say the practice is deplorable and more addictive than other forms of gambling such as the lottery.
"Economic times have changed, and that's probably the primary reason for the consideration of legislation like this," said Mark Creech of the Christian Action League. "But we can make compromises that are all together too costly."
Jones, a Greensboro Democrat, disagreed, saying that the state already supports one form of gambling, the lottery, and that video poker is not substantially different. "The political liability for the state supporting gaming has already been tested," he said.