A Bad Gamble

When West Virginia legislators and the state Lottery Commission began allowing video machine gambling outside racetracks several years ago, it was decided fraternal organizations deserved a break. Many of them had helped defray their expenses for years with illegal gambling machines.

So fraternal organizations were given a break not available to purely commercial gambling operations in places such as bars and convenience stores. They are permitted to operate twice as many gambling machines at a single site.

It did not take long for unscrupulous interests to take advantage by establishing new organizations solely for the purpose of benefitting from the loophole.

The situation has become outrageous, as Lottery Commission members learned. This week, they heard about the Princeton Fraternal Order of Police “lodge,” which operates gambling machines.

The lodge is located in Harrisville, about a three-hour drive from Princeton.

Princeton FOP members use proceeds for worthy causes. No one questions that.

Still, the basic dishonesty of the system needs to be addressed – especially when it involves sham organizations set up solely to profit from the loophole.