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03/28/2013

News / Five SC business loose licenses over purported gambling

The city council of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina voted Tuesday to revoke the sweepstakes licensed of five businesses operating in the city. The 4-1 decision was taken after South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill banning all sweepstakes gambling and video poker throughout the state.

“They knew that was a gamble themselves,” Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, who voted in favor of the motion, was quoted by WMBF as saying. “When the business license was issued, then they knew that the Attorney General could possibly rule that sweepstakes were not legal and therefore those licenses {could} be revoked.”

The four of the five businesses that lost their license have been struggling to keep their licenses and stay in business. One of the five locations, an establishment owned by Winner’s Circle Amusements, voluntarily shut down its establishments in January, after several raids throughout the city. The four other businesses have been losing money ever since and have tried to salvage their situation with legal help.

“My clients have basically been losing income of what we put on the record to be somewhere between ten and twenty thousand dollars a week,” The business’ attorney, Jonny McCoy noted.

McCoy has argued that the four businesses he represents do not fall under the new bill as they have neither a beer, wine and liquor license, nor a bingo license, and because their sweepstakes were not conducted as games of chance.

“You buy your little cards at the counter when you walk in. And then it's already been determined whether you won or not. So it's like going to the lottery and saying, ‘give me a quick pick,” McCoy stressed.

The business owners were allowed to present their case at a public forum in February, but evidently they were unable to win the necessary support from City Council members. McCoy says they are not planning to take the case to a higher court, and will instead move their businesses to a different location.


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