(04/28/2001)
Charleston-AP

Small-business owners say they will be forced out of business if legislation regulating video poker machines in West Virginia becomes law.

Governor Wise's video poker bill would prohibit grocery stores and convenience stores from having the machines. Wise is expected to sign the bill.

Dave Lawrence's grocery story near Charleston has seven video poker machines. He says the revenue they generate keeps his store open. Lawrence says Wise doesn't care about small-business owners.

Danny Young says he fired two employees at his Charleston convenience store this week to prepare for losses that will occur when the state takes his 12 machines.

Wise spokesman Bill Case says the bill restricts illegal gambling that has become rampant across West Virginia. At the same time, it provides the state with much-needed revenues. Lawmakers say the bill eventually could produce an estimated 112 million dollars annually for the state.


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