Senate Votes to Put Controversial Sweepstakes Devices on Illegal Gambling List
On Tuesday, January 15th, the South Carolina senate voted with an overwhelming majority stating that the controversial sweepstakes devices – which could be found in a variety of stores, and even some chain restaurants – would be considered illegal gambling machines.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Larry Martin, of Pickens, SC, says the bill clears up ambiguity about the sweepstakes machines by labeling them video poker machines. That makes them illegal gambling devices.
Rather than giving gamblers money, sweepstakes devices sell products like long distance phone cards, then offer customers a chance at prizes.
As the now illegal gambling devices have gained in popularity over the last few years, customers and officials questioned their legality. Cases about sweepstakes devices went to state court several times, with judges making conflicting rulings about their legality.
However, the Senate has now stated officially that they believe sweepstakes devices to be illegal gambling. However, the bill will not be passed without a vote from the House.
South Carolina Has a Tumultuous History with Illegal Gambling Machines
South Carolina voted to make video poker illegal in 2001, and until late 2011, almost no illegal gambling machines were in use throughout the state. However, in the past year and a half, illegal gambling and video poker machines have made a huge come-back, especially in Lexington County.
Throughout the month of December, Lexington County officers arrested several people for operating hundreds of illegal gambling machines across the county. Other counties in South Carolina have been affected by illegal gambling busts as well. One man in Spartanburg County was arrested for operating 360 illegal gambling machines on his property. A woman in Columbia had her home searched by police because a neighbor smelled marijuana, and the officers found nine illegal gambling machines.
The Strom Law Firm Prosecutes Operators of Illegal Gambling Machines
Strom Law Firm was one of the first law firms to bring suits against the video poker industry in the late 1990s seeking to recover gambling losses. Since that time, Strom Law Firm has litigated a couple of video poker cases, including a case against a local Columbia restaurant.
With the new influx of video gaming machines, comes substantial gambling losses to South Carolina citizens. South Carolina has several laws in place to protect gamblers and their families from the financial ruin that their gambling addiction can cause.
A family or relative may file suit anytime within one year from the time the money is lost gambling. If you or a family member has lost money in video poker within the last year, you may have legal rights, and should contact a lawyer immediately. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have experience with illegal gambling cases, as part of state criminal defense. We offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case. To have a lawyer evaluate your case, please call us at 803.252.4800. Do not let illegal gambling charges ruin your future.