Given my odds, I tend to not gamble. After all, I'm the lady who gets stuck in the elevator of an Uptown parking garage late at night. See why I don't gamble?
But apparently a lot of people in Charlotte do play their odds. I first noticed this trend when I went into an "Internet café" looking to fax something. I found myself in a smoky café full of people playing video poker on computers. Turns out, this "Internet café" was in reality a casino.
In addition to these casino cafés, video poker machines have been popping up at bars all over town — from Rusty Rudder to Town Tavern — despite their ban a few years ago. Around the time I began noticing this, I also started noticing my Vegas-loving ex-boyfriend sitting in the corner of the bar all night, like he was taking a time-out, playing Keno.
One day he called me all excited to tell me he'd won $1,000 ... at the bar. I play Photo Hunt and Wordster all the time and never win a dime. Not fair. So how is this not gambling?
Apparently it's a "sweepstakes." You get credits put on the machine via the bartender, and once you're done playing, you print out a ticket and cash it out at the bar — so you never actually put money into the machine. Ah, the loophole ...
My ex pleaded with me: "Please don't write about these and ruin it like you did turtle racing at Ed's Tavern."
But Beverly Perdue certainly wrote about them when she signed the bill to ban them.
According to a July 20 article in The News & Observer, "The law, which will go into effect Dec. 1, will make illegal the games played on computer screens that feature slot machine interfaces or hands of video poker."
But just like they did before with these sweepstakes machines, venues found a loophole ... before the law plugged it up. Town Tavern already has the new legalized machine. But judging from the feedback from management, it's not a winning hand.
Guess you just gotta know when to hold 'em ... and when to fold 'em.