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Aiken County to crack down on video poker machines

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Businesses in Aiken County have less than two weeks to remove any sweepstakes, video poker or other games of chance before deputies will begin filing charges for having the illegal machines.

“It will affect a good many businesses in the county,” Aiken County sheriff’s Capt. Troy Elwell said Friday.

He estimates that at least half of the gas stations in Aiken County have gaming machines.

The law has been on the books in South Carolina since 2000 but has not been fully enforced throughout the state in recent years.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is pushing for a crackdown on the machines.

The statue, Section 12-21-2710, says it is illegal to possess or operate any sweepstakes, video poker or other electronic game of chance that might have a payout in cash, vouchers, gift cards or merchandise.

Anyone found in possession of the games after April 23 will be charged with a misdemeanor and could
be fined up to $500 and sentenced to up to one year in jail.

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Ginot 04/13/12 - 04:42 pm
So, they're gonna crack down

So, they're gonna crack down on harmless video poker while drugs run wild.... That's awesome!

david jennings
david jennings 04/14/12 - 07:41 am
This form of gambling should

This form of gambling should be illegal,it is far from harmless. The light fine however and misdemeanor charge is not nearly enough.

meginlea 04/14/12 - 07:51 am
I'm very ignorant in regards

I'm very ignorant in regards to video poker and gambling. Why is it so dangerous? I tried to read about it online, but I couldn't find any trustworthy sites. Is it just because it is hard to regulate and easy to manipulate or something that targets low-income minorities? I really don't know, but I'd like to educate myself regarding the issue.

IndianaJones 04/14/12 - 09:11 am
You may not remember that

You may not remember that prior to 2000 there were several metal buildings along Hwy 25 (Edgefield Road) where the establishments had liquor, gambling, and women. The video poker machines were licensed and regulated by the state. Do an internet search on The Post and Courier dated October 7, 1992. Each machine was licensed for $1500 per year.

Riverman1 04/14/12 - 09:43 am
Sure those machines and other

Sure those machines and other kinds like pinball machines have been the method illegal gambling used forever in SC. The way they used to get around the law was by paying off in games. So you would win games instead of cash. Of course, the establishment would slip you the cash everyone knew.

They made a fortune and the payoff rate was very unfair. I've seen guys put their entire blue collar paycheck in them on Friday nights and be broke all week.

The people who actually owned the machines were quasilegal companies where they would put the machine in the store for free and split the profits with the establishment. These machine owners had many strongarm types who made sure they got their share.

As IndianaJones said, The Charleston Post and Courier did many stories on this gambling. Their influence was wide in SC political circles with huge contributions being made to political officials and law enforcement chiefs of various kinds.

Danny Hogg, a former pro-boxer from Charleston, was an enforcer for them and ended up arrested for murder. Somehow the charges were dropped.

nnaugusta 04/14/12 - 06:44 pm
There were a select few

There were a select few stores that never did get rid of them back during the initial sweep. It was common knowledge but nothing was ever done about it.

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