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Georgia court upholds ban on video gambling


ATLANTA (BP)–The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld a legislative prohibition on video gambling.

The state high court’s unanimous decision forbids casino-style video gambling, such as poker and keno. Apart from further legal action, the video machines, which are estimated to number 15,000 to 20,000 in the state, must be out of Georgia by June 30.

The justices’ May 28 ruling overturned a lower-court opinion that found the ban too broad. The law would make it impossible for citizens to decide which machines were prohibited, the lower court said, according to an Associated Press report.

The state high court disagreed. “We believe that persons of common intelligence will readily ascertain what the act prohibits,” the justices said in their opinion, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The justices also ruled the state did not have to compensate the owners of the machines, which cost about $3,000 each, the Journal-Constitution reported.

The Georgia legislature had approved the ban last summer at the behest of Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat. In pushing for the measure, Barnes called video gambling a “cancer,” the newspaper reported.


After the high court’s ruling, Barnes said, “This decision will allow us to put an end to video poker before it brings any more harm to our citizens,” according to the Journal-Constitution.

Georgia became the second Southern state to push out video gambling. South Carolina outlawed the highly addictive games in 2000, ending the use of 22,000 video machines in the state, AP reported.