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      State Sen. Ford: Gambling could ease budget

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Charleston Sen. Robert Ford says making video gambling legal again in South Carolina and other forms of gambling could ease the state's budget problems.

      The Post and Courier of Charleston reported Tuesday that Ford said video poker and other gambling could raise $700 million for the state.

      South Carolina banned video gambling in July 2000. The state operates a lottery that provides money for various education programs.

      The Democrat's comments come after he learned the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs cut $150,000 for a facility in his district that provides day care for children with disorders ranging from mental retardation to autism. The Charles Webb Center is to close at the end of December.

      The General Assembly cut the state agency's budget by 11 percent, or $21 million, in October.

      (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

      Will legalizing gambling in South Carolina help solve the state's budget woes? We want to know what you think...
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