Court closes chapter on video poker saga

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 1999

Finally, with the Supreme Court’s backing, it seems the voices of the voters in Concordia Parish will be heard. Parish residents voted in 1996 to repeal the law allowing video poker to be played. The message was clear. Concordia Parish said &uot;no&uot; to video poker.

But with big money at stake, video poker proponents just wouldn’t take &uot;no&uot; for an answer.

Instead of doing the right thing and leaving somewhere they were obviously not welcome, the video poker folks decided to take their battle to court.

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After several court battles, each with a new decision, the matter ultimately wound up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Monday the court turned down the video poker owners’ argument that the 1996 election results should be thrown out because they were unlawfully barred from banding together to campaign against repealing the law.

In effect the court decided against letting the group lobby together. And maybe ridding our government of lobbysts is the answer. Imagine how much more clearly our voices would be heard if such practices were used by every form of government.

Now the question facing Concordia Parish is how to recoup more than $150,000 in tax revenue off video poker that is gone from the parish coffers. And we understand the video poker owners’ frustration with the change in the law. Quite simply, it means a big financial hit to them.

Despite how difficult it may be for everyone to recover from the financial blow, the parish must keep moving ahead.

And hopefully the lesson we’ll all learn here is that when voters say &uot;no&uot; they mean it.