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Details from the video poker machine bill

The final proposal passed

Saturday would:

n Limit the number of video poker machines to 9,000 statewide and no more than five at each bar or club and 10 at each fraternal or veteran's facility.

n Require establishments that are frequented by minors to put video poker terminals in a separate room.

n Prohibit traditional convenience and grocery stores from having video poker machines.

n Require establishment owners with video poker machines to obtain an annual license from the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration, undergo a state police background check and be West Virginia residents for four years.

n Distribute the first 10-year permits for $1,000 each. Bars and clubs that already have Class A liquor licenses are allowed two machines, fraternal and veteran organizations are allowed seven. Other machines would be awarded by way of sealed competitive bids.

n Require existing machines to be replaced by machines that contain the West Virginia Lottery Commission's erasable, programmable, read-only memory chips.

n Make old machines and the property on which they are found subject to forfeiture on Jan. 1, 2002.

n Allow retailers to either purchase and manage their own machines or house machines provided by an operator, who will maintain and keep the books on machines.

n Prohibit operators from being permitted for more than 7.5 percent of the total allowed machines, or 750 machines.

n Limit wagers on video poker machines to $2 and increase the maximum allowed bet on racetrack slot machines from $2 to $5.

n Prohibit retailers from providing access to an automated teller machine (ATM) where the video poker machines are located, from accepting credit or debit cards, or extending store credit, and from allowing anyone under 21 or intoxicated to play the machines.

n Require retailers to continuously monitor and record video poker machine activity through a closed circuit television system.

n Prohibit advertising or promotional activities related to the video poker machines, including signs posted both inside and outside the establishment.

n Require retailers to conspicuously post telephone numbers of state-approved compulsive gambling programs along with the following warning sign: "CAUTION Gambling and playing this machine can be hazardous to your health, your finances, and your future."

n Require each video poker machine to have a prominently displayed label that provides information on how to get help for a gambling addiction group along with the number 1-800-GAMBLER.

n Establish civil penalties of up to $10,000 and criminal penalties up to $500,000 in fines and five years in jail for illegally operating machines.

How the money is distributed:

n Tax rate: 30 percent until June 1, 2002, then a sliding scale between 30 and 50 percent, depending on a statewide average of how much money the machines generate.

n Lottery Commission: 2 percent for administrative costs, with between $150,000 and $1 million a year going to the Compulsive Gambling Treatment Fund.

n City and county governments: 2 percent.

n School Building Authority: $25 million each year; must get legislative approval to finance bonds.

n Infrastructure Fund: $25 million in 2002 and $50 million each year thereafter; must get legislative approval to finance bonds.

n PROMISE scholarship program: $5.5 million in 2002; $10 million in 2003; $17 million in 2004; $27 million in 2005.

n Higher education: $10 million each year.

n Park improvements: $9 million each year.

n Pay raises: Teachers, $1,000; School service personnel, $750; Correctional officers, $2,000; State Police troopers, $751. Some incentive raises for professional educators in their 31st through 35th years of service. Bill indicates legislative priority to fund multiyear pay raises with revenue generated in subsequent years.

n Homestead exemption for low-income seniors raised from $20,000 to $30,000.

n Racetracks required to spend 4 percent of the money earmarked for capital improvements in the barn area or on projects approved by the Horseman's Association.

n Prescription drugs: Requires governor to pursue a Medicaid waiver from the federal Health Care Financing Administration to create a prescription drug subsidy program for senior citizens. Bill indicates legislative priority to fund the program with revenue generated in subsequent years.

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