One important responsibility of human government is to protect it's citizens from "dangers without and within". We hold our society together by laws. Laws which bear no penalty for violation are useless. Failure to enforce the laws which carry penalties for violation is a mockery of justice. The failure to enforce the laws against illegal gambling via the "gray machines" in West Virginia is a mockery of the rule of law.

Many of our elected and appointed officials do not avail themselves of the research and news reports of the destructive effects of gambling. Laws against illegal sales of tobacco and drugs are targeted with "sting operations" as a means of enforcement. Meanwhile, a chorus of the executive, legislative, and law enforcement say that they cannot do the same with illegal gambling via the "gray machines". The gambling lobby has practically bought the state of West Virginia. A quick sampling of the campaign financial records of our legislators and other elected officials will substantiate this. Otherwise, why do the "gray machines" owners and operators openly defy the laws of our state with impunity?

Below is a letter signed by 29 [We should honor those bipartisan] members of our West Virginia Senate and House of Delegates who have asked the Governor "to enforce the law regarding gambling and gray machines."

If you would like to join our group please contact me. We are a growing coalition of pro family organizations and individuals of West Virginia, who say thank you to the four senators and the twenty five delegates who signed the letter.

Henry Thaxton, Director
(304) 984-3509
West Virginians Against Government Waste
Rt. 13, Box 420-1/2, Charleston, WV 25412
Working for a better tomorrow in West Virginia

March 8, 2000

The Honorable Cecil H. Underwood
Governor, State of West Virginia
State Capitol
1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV 25305

Dear Governor Underwood,


The state is seeing a major expansion in gambling, including gray machines. Mom and Pop grocery stores, restaurants, bars and taverns, gas stations, hotels and other businesses are adding them. We suspect that on a per person basis we have as many as South Carolina, which is currently going through a crisis regarding their video poker machines.

The reason for their expansion is there appears to be no effort in enforcing the law regarding the illegal payoffs of the gray machines. And it is clear that those playing the machines are not doing it for entertainment any more that someone would go to Atlantic City or Las Vegas, put their money in just to see lights and hear bells ring with no financial payoff.

We, the undersigned, request that you use the law enforcement agencies at your disposal (State Police, ABCC, Tax officials, etc.) to enforce the law regarding gambling and gray machines. Sincerely,

signed by: