Like a series of small rain showers that suddenly become a raging flood, several lawmakers' attempts to modify and control gambling in West Virginia seem to be turning into a major expansion of it instead. Before there's a slot machine on every corner, citizens need to think about the possible consequences of three recent bills.
Are we exaggerating their possible effect? Judge for yourself.
On Wednesday, the state Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would replace all video poker machines in the state with video lottery machines. The bill was originally written just to outlaw the so-called "gray" poker machines, but the bill's sponsor and Judiciary Committee chairman Bill Wooton says he "didn't seem to have a lot of support for that."
Realizing that he couldn't win a ban on devices that many suspect bar owners are making illegal payouts on, Wooton decided to replace the illegal with something legal.