Video poker inspired by Sanford's ethical retreat?

Two decades ago, video poker machines began showing up in the backrooms of small stores across South Carolina. Ten years later, video gambling had blossomed into a large industry which filled warehouse-sized locations and helped oust a Governor and several legislators. With a friendly Governor and an intimidated Legislature, it took the intervention of the courts to rein the industry in.

A recent shooting near Charleston in which nine outlawed video poker machines were confiscated was far from the only recent sighting of video gambling machines around the state:


Charleston County Sheriff's deputies said they confiscated nine arcade-style poker machines from a home where a man was shot with a rifle this weekend.

In the wake of video poker, reformers sought to close the loopholes which allowed that industry to pour millions into political front groups without having to disclose. While this was once the cause of the current Governor, now that Sanford's agenda benefits from the support of groups like SCRG, the campaign disclosure reforms the Governor once advocated now seems forgotten.

Perhaps the video poker industry has found inspiration in Sanford's craven sell-out, hoping that they once again may be able to buy politicians and topple those who resist.

There is no small irony that the Governor who preached the gospel of "reform" and "leadership" has engaged in the same kind of shady pay-to-play politics that he once criticized. While we hope the video poker industry doesn't follow Sanford's example, we're not going to bet our state's future on it.

Those legislators who want to defang Governor Sanford's out-of-state allies, as well as head off video poker at the pass, would be wise to quickly resurrect campaign finance and disclosure reforms. If the Governor wants to undo some of the political damage which has been done in the last two election cycles, as well as remain true to his reform rhetoric, he'll sign such legislation when it reaches his desk.

After the damage which has been done to this state's political culture and its people by centuries of "highest bidder" politics, enacting legislation which requires full disclosure of campaign finances and expenditures may be one of the most important things Sanford can accomplish in the time he has left in office.

9 Response to "Video poker inspired by Sanford's ethical retreat?"

  1. Anonymous 2/7/08 00:11
    I'll bet you Sanford will go down to the Riverbanks Zoo, pick out his choice of animals, return with one to four of them, and have them on his desk when the vetos anything which will unmask his SCRG buddies.

    I'm thinking a snake, a chicken, and a jackal, at the very least.
  2. still in new orleans mg 2/7/08 07:56
    get me a roll of quarters
  3. bonnet carrie spillway mg 2/7/08 13:09
    you know i just crossed the bonnet carrie spillway here in jefferson parish la and am only a couple of hundred yards from the riverboat casino. it would look good in clarendon county at north santee just floating out on lake marion.
  4. clt apt mg 2/7/08 21:42
    quit picking on my guv
  5. Anonymous 2/7/08 22:01
    MG, that bunch deserves to be picked on. It is scary to see how power-hungry they've become. All because they can't take no for an answer.

    I'll bet they couldn't get dates in high school either.
  6. Anonymous 2/7/08 22:56
    You're right Earl!
    Video poker is on the way back! I've seen the machines around the lowcountry. The leading advocates previously to rid our state of this plague aka "the crack cocaine of gambling" currently aspire to higher office and i predict they'll sit on their thumbs on this issue. Therefore the plague will become progressively worse.
  7. Jefferson lives 3/7/08 02:59
    It makes sense to me. After tax credits/vouchers take all the money from public schools and shut out poor or middle class for being truly able to afford private schools, a few rounds of video poker should help the folks forget the raw deal. And, after being educated in underfunded, unreformed public schools, chances are the next generation won't know the difference.
  8. Anonymous 3/7/08 09:12
    Earl, the legislature won't step into any ethics reform, they suckle contentedly from the same teat of the sow they howl isn't kosher. They still fatten from it and bobtail to their hearts content. They won't do it to Sanford, because they expect that a puppet Governor that will follow the legislature's bidding could benefit from the largesse of those dollars.

    Video poker was big business before it was legal, so many businesses "refunding" plays from the machines to stay "legal" were teh rule of the day as private clubs were and in some areas are the way around Sunday alcohol sales.

    John's Island's shooting and gambling bust looks more like someone trying to ripoff an illegal operation, not far off of an incident you're aware of when a Democrat party "street money" bagman was robbed... who you gonna call? If you call law enforcement, the inconvenient question of whose money was that anyway comes up AND, of late, if over $10,000.00, if recovered or not, is subject to some Homeland Security inquiry.

    Keep an eye on Warren Holiday to validate your theory Earl.
  9. Anonymous 3/7/08 23:47
    Look at the shape South Carolina's roads are currently in. When we had video poker, we had the best roads in the nation. This is why I favor not video poker, but casino gambling and paramutual betting in Horry County ONLY. That place is already trashy enough, how could casinos, dogtracks, etc make it anymore filthy?
    In case video poker does surface again, I'm for it if it goes to fix our state's problems.

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