Originally created 11/29/00

Board outlines rules for poker businesses



Nearly six months after South Carolina pulled the plug on video gambling businesses, Columbia County officials Tuesday night made sure no poker parlors could cross the state line.

Members of the county's Development and Environmental Services Committee approved licensing requirements for business owners who have video poker machines.

Some of the requirements include:

Businesses with video poker machines should be specific distances from churches, schools and other video poker businesses.

Any certificates offered as prizes for poker players must be redeemable within the business.

Any business with video poker machines must get less than 50 percent of their revenue from the machines.

A business cannot have more than 10 machines.

And no business with an alcohol license can have a video poker license.

"I don't think a lot of people are going to be applying for this," said Commissioner Frank Spears.

County attorney Doug Batchelor admitted the license requirements were strict. In, fact they may be a little too strict, but that's OK with committee members.

"This document has alleviated the biggest fears we had: that someone would come in with 150 machines and open a warehouse," Mr. Spears said.

Now county commissioners - who approved an initial draft of the ordinance in August - will get the revised ordinance next week.

In other business from Tuesday night's meeting, the committee approved an ordinance establishing guidelines for addressing homes, apartments and businesses. Acting Planning and Zoning Director Ken Toma said the ordinance was aimed at cleaning up some of the county's maps - which show some roads bearing the same name and properties numbered out of sequence.

And it makes it easier for emergency personnel to find addresses.

"Ultimately what we are talking about here is safety," Mr. Toma said.

Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115.