Store owners in town were “clearly warned at Thanksgiving,” by the Cheraw Police Department, that the poker machines operating within their businesses were indeed illegal gambling devices according to the laws of South Carolina, and that “we would be collecting them if they did not get rid of them,” Cheraw Police Chief Jay Brooks said.
When members of the South Carolina Law Enforcement (SLED) and representatives of the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office arrived last Tuesday morning, Brooks led them to 10 different stores in town where a total of 20 poker machines and their contents were confiscated. Two quarter slide machines were seized as well.
Policies against selling alcohol where these machines are housed caused some of the stores involved to face ABC violations and fines of $1,500 or more, said Brooks.
“The industry that makes these poker machines thought they had found a loop hole in South Carolina law,” said Brooks. “But if you put money in it, and stand a chance to get back more money than you put in it, then it’s gambling. And that’s illegal in South Carolina.”
Store owners, however, have 15 days in which to dispute the legal issues, said Brooks.
Brooks said store owners were told last fall, when detectives were taking a tally of all the poker machines in town, exactly what the officers were doing. “We’re trying to figure how much storage space we’re going to need when we pick them all up,” Brooks said one of the officers told a store owner. “I don’t know how much more clearly you can warn someone.”
Only now, said Brooks, instead of storing them, they’ll be destroyed. “We have a destruction order,” he said. “They’ll soon be run over with a bulldozer and buried in the landfill.”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by callign 843-537-5261, or by email at email@example.com.