North Carolina governor Mike Easley has signed another anti-online gambling law into being, reports the Asheville Citizen-Times this week.
The bill bans the use of pre-paid telephone cards to facilitate Internet-based gaming, a new kind of entertainment that has replaced video poker in some convenience stores, restaurants and other spots. Players using the system would purchase pre-paid telephone cards, which were then used to play sweepstakes .
The bill exempts electronic games at Harrah's Cherokee Casino, a land gambling venue licensed by the state.
Legislators in the state who voted for the new measure claimed that the system was no more than a workaround on the 2006 state ban on video poker machines, but operators say that the new ban merely creates a state government sponsored monopoly on lottery betting.
"It appears to me that our state legislators want everyone to buy either a lottery ticket or go to Harrah’s," said Tom Morgan, president of Mountain Energy.