Legal & Law

Are Poker Machines Legal in South Carolina?

are poker machines legal in south carolina

South Carolina remains one of the few states that still prohibit casino-style gambling; the only forms legal gambling are state lottery and charitable games such as bingo.

State officials attempted to regulate video poker by restricting daily winnings. Machine operators found ways around this restriction by hiding multiple machines within buildings and behind walls.

Legality

South Carolina made video poker machines illegal in July 2000, yet operators continue to exploit loopholes to bypass prosecution. One such loophole is due to online gaming not taking place at physical locations making it hard for authorities to bust. Furthermore, South Carolina gambling laws don’t go far enough in prosecuting online games; therefore only legal forms of gambling such as state lotteries and the Big M Casino exist here.

Horry County judge announced in June that 24 gaming machines seized in June should be destroyed, however prosecutors believe this ruling to be nothing but industry gaming the system. Video poker will remain legal in South Carolina until higher courts rule otherwise; state legislature had made it appear as though voters could vote on whether to allow video poker but this wasn’t possible due to state constitution not providing for public legislation of such issues.

Regulation

South Carolina’s gambling laws are among the strictest in the country, and anyone engaging in illegal gambling activities could face jail time and fines, in addition to having their gaming license suspended and prohibited from operating gaming businesses in South Carolina. If arrested for gambling-related charges it is imperative that they immediately retain an attorney for representation.

South Carolina’s restrictive gambling laws make legal poker play nearly impossible in South Carolina, as their definition of gambling includes any game played with cards – making poker illegal.

In the 1980s, video poker machines began appearing at convenience stores and bars across South Carolina. Soon thereafter, these machines quickly gained in popularity and caused substantial gambling losses among their residents. After several citizens filed lawsuits challenging this industry, South Carolina officials attempted to limit it by restricting how many machines could be located on each property.

Taxes

South Carolina has some of the strictest gambling laws in the country. Most forms of gambling, including off-track betting and table games, have been prohibited in South Carolina; bingo halls and the state lottery remain legal gambling options while residents can gamble in sweepstakes casinos using a different model with minimum age requirements of 21.

In the 1990s, video poker machines began appearing at bars, convenience stores and gas stations throughout California. State legislators attempted to control them with legislation that limited daily winnings to $125 – this measure was bypassed by operators who simply kept paying out jackpots until that limit had been met. Furthermore, dozens of machines were packed into buildings with walls between them so as to form “video malls,” leading to an enormous operation with little tax revenue for the state.

Limits

South Carolina has stringent gambling laws. The Supreme Court ruled that poker machines were unlawful as forms of gambling; however, there is one legal loophole which allows video poker machines operated by licensed casinos with daily payout limits no more than $125.

Machine operatorss must keep an account of all winnings and losses. The state Supreme Court has upheld this limit as constitutional.

Video poker players used to have access to a wide range of machines in bars, strip malls and gas stations across South Carolina. Video poker enthusiasts were even part of a lobby which donated millions to politicians – helping a traditionally Republican state elect a Democrat governor with these funds. Furthermore, these machines provided revenue for many businesses within South Carolina – an industry which had become one of the largest nationally. Unfortunately, South Carolina’s ruling effectively killed this industry; one which was one of its largest in terms of revenue. This issue became one of its most contentious issues within state borders; therefore it garnered public scrutiny throughout South Carolina’s history.