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Governor Calls for Ban on Video Gambling

Gov. David Beasley of South Carolina urged lawmakers to ban video gambling in his State of the State address Wednesday night.

Governor Beasley (R) said he expected tighter restrictions on the $2 billion-a-year industry and has even struck $61 million in anticipated gambling revenue from his proposed budget.

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"Studies show that every dollar spent on gambling actually costs us another $3 to pay for its consequences," Beasley told legislators.

The industry, praised for its jobs and profits but criticized as fatally addictive, has drawn national headlines.

Last August, a 10-day-old infant died of dehydration in a car parked outside a Columbia,S.C., gambling parlor. The baby's mother was charged with homicide after admitting she didn't check on the baby during the seven hours she spent inside.

Supporters say video gambling brings 27,000 jobs to South Carolina and gave the economy a $1 billion boost last year. They contend that banning the games would eliminate 10,000 jobs.

"The governor's made a mess of video poker," said Jim Hodges, who resigned his House seat to run for governor. "Let's turn it over to the voters."

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