"While this legislation does not increase the public's access to video
gambling, I am concerned about the effect it will have on our low-income
citizens," Underwood said after the bill's passage. "At the same
time, the Legislature incorporated revenues from the video games into the
- Video poker ("gray machines"): Underwood opposes legalizing or
regulating the video poker machines often found in bars and some
convenience stores. In June, he instructed the West Virginia State Police
to work cooperatively with local officials in their investigations of
illegal gambling using the video machines. But he said State Police can't
be expected to shut down illegal payments from video poker machines.
"The police officer has to see the payoff," Underwood said.
"That means constant surveillance. I don't think its practical to tie up
State Police for endless surveillance."
Underwood said the lottery commission makes decisions about
expansion of legal video lottery machines at racetracks, not him.
Underwood does appoint people to the seven-member commission, who
then must receive state Senate approval.
- Greenbrier casino: Underwood supported a bill that could pave
the way for casino gambling at The Greenbrier hotel. The bill allows
Greenbrier County citizens to vote on the issue. Since his 1996 campaign,
Underwood has supported giving local citizens the option to vote on
gambling at The Greenbrier, calling it an economic development issue.
Underwood would not rule out giving other local communities the
option to vote on gambling expansion, like voters in Greenbrier County
will do this November.
"Each thing must be considered on its own merits," he said.
Underwood opposes riverboat gambling, for economic as well as
moral reasons. He calls it "a risky gamble" for communities.
"They can untie the boat and leave if business is not good," he said.
To contact staff writer Scott Finn, use e-mail or call 357-4323.