Twelve years ago South Carolinians were stripped of their right to decide whether video poker should be legal in the Palmetto State.  By blocking a referendum on these machines, the S.C. Supreme Court imposed its will on voters rather than letting them make a choice – paving the way for the government-run gambling monopoly that we see today.

Oh, and also the shady video poker underworld in which corrupt politicians and crooked cops run illegal rackets …

Enough is enough.

This website has consistently supported breaking up government’s gambling monopoly and permitting expanded gaming operations in the private sector.  We’re particularly supportive of allowing casinos on the South Carolina coast – and at other locations where they will draw out-of-state business.

In fact our founding editor claims to have a “big idea” for Myrtle Beach, S.C. that would single-handedly revive our state’s flagging tourism economy – although this idea relies on the legalization of casinos along the coast.

Why have we adopted this position?  Because we don’t believe that gambling is a core function of government.  We do believe, however, that permitting the private sector to run this industry would create lasting economic benefits for our state while at the same time minimizing the costs associated with problem and pathological gamblers.

Video poker?  Obviously that’s a different animal … as the vast majority of the people who play it (like those who play the state’s “education” lottery) would be South Carolinians, not tourists or travelers on one of our state’s interstate roads.

Still … it’s hard to rationalize supporting one form of expanding gambling and rejecting another, and let’s face it – fools and their money will “soon be parted” no matter what vices are outlawed.  And there are plenty of fools in South Carolina, which runs an equally ineffective K-12 education monopoly.

Our recent coverage of the nefarious “Lexington Ring” – the first illegal video poker cabal to be publicly exposed – might lead some to believe that we have changed our tune on gambling.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact the rampant corruption we are currently witnessing in connection with this ring is yet another reason to legalize this industry … now.

Our state can take a major step forward in terms of enhancing its competitiveness and employing more of its citizens by immediately legalizing private sector gambling.  Doing so would also do away with our state-run monopoly (which funds totally unnecessary boondoggles, incidentally) and the rampant corruption we are seeing.

It’s common sense, in other words … which is why we’re not holding our breath that it will ever happen in this state.