are video poker machines legal in nc

Since 2002, the General Assembly has made efforts to eliminate video gambling machines found within sweepstakes parlors – which attract customers while raising funds used for illegal operations.

House Commerce Committee held a hearing for a bill that would allow video gaming terminals in locations licensed for alcohol consumption and overseen by the state lottery commission, with part of their revenue going toward funding scholarships at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), community colleges with forgivable loans as well as forgivable loan repayment options for students attending community college programs.

Basic rules

Video poker is a casino game played on a computerized console equipped with both a television-like monitor and solid-state central processing unit, similar to what television television provides. Based on five-card draw poker, this video game gives players the chance to create winning combinations from combinations of one or more cards into winning hands by matching these against an automated central processing unit meter that displays winning credits earned during gameplay.

Players not only win credits but can also accumulate points to redeem for merchandise or room compensation as their status levels increase. The higher a player reaches status levels, the greater are these rewards.

Legality of video poker machines in North Carolina is determined by state and Indian gaming regulations, so a state court judge ruled that they cannot be banned while simultaneously permitting Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to operate them on their reservation.


While North Carolina General Assembly leaders continue working behind closed doors to finalize budget details, there has been a new proposal that could legalize video poker machines across the state. Both House Speaker and Senate leader have expressed support for this idea which would allow machines to operate at establishments with alcohol beverage licenses; with state taking a portion of any profits.

Fish games or skill arcades, commonly referred to as fish games or skill arcades, are electronic versions of traditional slot machines that many believe constitute games of chance. Although many believe these machines constitute gambling, the Supreme Court has ruled against their classification as gambling machines; their operators companies have challenged this ruling in federal court and currently their case is under appeal.

The latest legislative effort would legalize video gambling machines statewide by classifying them as electronically simulated games of chance that would be regulated by the State Lottery Commission. Rowan County Republican Rep. Harry Warren believes regulating these machines will help stamp out illegal operations; part of their revenue would go toward supporting historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) scholarships, forgivable community college loans as well as forgiving student debt from forgone community college loans.


After years of legal battles, California’s ban on video poker machines was finally lifted by a court ruling this week. Business owners who operate them will now be permitted to keep them provided they award prizes based on skill or dexterity; it represents a setback for an industry which had long sought legalization of their machines.

Gaming companies have implemented rules and software changes in an attempt to circumvent state restrictions on video poker machines and electronic sweepstakes machines, modifying them so they pay out cash prizes instead. Such machines are sometimes known as “fish tables,” usually found at bars.

The General Assembly has attempted for years to eliminate illegal video gambling machines in North Carolina, yet their proliferation remains rampant. A bill heard on Tuesday in the House Commerce Committee would legalize their operation as long as they’re approved by the lottery commission and follow specific rules; 40% of the revenues generated would go directly back into state coffers while remaining revenue would help support HBCU and community college scholarships.

Mistakes to avoid

North Carolina law considers any gambling machine which involves money or anything of value as illegal gambling activity, including slot machines, video poker and sweepstakes. Furthermore, any attempt at manufacturing, owning, keeping, operating, selling, renting leasing sharing or giving away any such machine that operates a form of game of chance in order to win money or property can result in misdemeanor charges being filed against violators of these laws.

Last week, a state judge issued an opinion ruling that the General Assembly cannot prohibit video poker and other video gaming machines while still permitting the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to operate them on their land. Although the court ruling supports their return immediately, its effects won’t immediately become evident.