The Truth... What is it?

American Indian Tribes become the latest stooges for the
"gambling industry's" grasp for your life & money!


"Change for Catawbas would usher back in video gambling"

Guest columnist (The State newspaper, see below)

"When the South Carolina Supreme Court courageously upheld the General Assembly’s ban on video gambling in its landmark 1999 decision, I knew it was only a matter of time before the gambling industry would attempt some ruse or scheme to reopen its casinos across our state.

"I also knew that this terrible video gambling mess was the product of what was supposed to be a small, inconsequential change in the law in the 1980s, but which then opened the floodgates of gambling in South Carolina. As a member of the S.C. Senate, I have kept a watchful eye since 1999 on proposed legislation to make sure it did not sneak past us again.

"The new Trojan horse of the gambling industry has now been filed: a proposal to allow the Catawba Indian Tribe to operate what has been described by supporters as a bingo hall near Santee, at the convergence of interstates 95 and 26. In truth, the proposal is for the reintroduction of electronic, high-stakes video gambling in South Carolina with a massive casino containing 700 to 1,000 video gambling devices.

"While the proposed gambling activity is euphemistically referred to as “bingo,” it bears little relationship to the traditional game using cards, a caller and corn kernels to cover the spaces. Instead, a customer has up to four cards appear on a video touch screen, and within seconds all of the numbers are issued and matched electronically, with the entire play taking only seven to 10 seconds. The players at the huge South Carolina casino would be electronically pooled with players at other bingo casinos across the country, creating massive jackpots.

"The so-called “bingo” game is really a combination of an electronic lotto game with Powerball jackpots, all wrapped up in a video gambling device. Those who argue that this “bingo” is something new should remember that electronic bingo was one of the games on the Pot of Gold machine so widely used in South Carolina before the ban.

"We have been told that the state of South Carolina should authorize the Catawbas to open this bingo casino in Santee because they allegedly have the right to engage in video poker on their York County reservation under a 1993 state statute. We are told that if we do not allow the Catawbas to open their bingo casino, they will sue the state and open a video poker operation on their reservation. I find this entire argument nonsense.

"First, the 1993 legislation makes it clear that the Catawbas are subject to the civil and criminal laws of South Carolina and may engage in video gambling only to the extent authorized under state law. Since video gambling is banned in South Carolina, the Catawba tribe has no right to engage in video gambling on the reservation or anywhere else in the state.

"Second, even in the unlikely event that the Catawbas are authorized to engage in video poker on their reservation, under the law in effect in 1993, this would involve low-stakes gambling limited to payouts not greater than $125 per day and only at the Catawba reservation, located in a very isolated section of York County.

"As the state senator representing York County, I believe that South Carolinians are better off resisting the reintroduction of high-stakes video gambling at Santee, even if there is a small risk that the Catawbas could open a video gambling parlor on their York County reservation.

"My advice to fellow legislators is to resist this scheme to bring back the scourge of high-stakes, addictive casino gambling to South Carolina. If the Catawbas elect to sue South Carolina because we will not give in to their demands, the state should retain top counsel and vigorously defend the state’s interest.

"We have fought too hard and for too long to rid our state of video gambling to capitulate in the face of this obvious legal ruse. We should tell the Catawbas, and their gambling industry allies lurking behind them, that we have learned our lesson in South Carolina and will never allow video gambling to return."

Mr. Hayes represents York County in the S.C. Senate


March 28, 2006 update: Senate bill S.1150 is in committee. In the 1993 Agreement with the Catawba tribe, the tribe was awarded $53 million dollars from federal & state sources to settle land claims...there was no future obligation for special future tribe status as to any form of gambling. Even so, the tribe is also suing for the right to run video poker gambling in Rock Hill. The video bingo which the tribe wants for Santee is considered by many to be worse than video poker. Video terminals don't create many jobs; and these terrible ventures will not just affect Rock Hill & Santee! See Palmetto Family Council.


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(posted 27 February 2004; latest update 28 March 2006)