Friday, April 5, 2013
On Jan. 17, investigators from the Georgetown Police Department and Agents from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division seized gaming devices from several businesses in the city.
Four electronic poker/keno devices were seized from Katz Bar at 630 S. Fraser St.
At a post seizure hearing in February, Georgetown County Chief Magistrate Isaac Pyatt examined the machines and ordered their destruction. In his ruling Pyatt said he found the games were illegal to possess.
Now, the makers of the games seized from Katz are appealing that ruling.
During the February hearing, the defense argued the state’s beer and wine licensing code offer an exception and makes the games in such establishments legal.
Pyatt cites state law in his decision that the argument offered by the video game companies is without merit.
It is unlawful for businesses to be in possession of “poker, blackjack, keno, lotto, bingo”... or other “games of chance,” Pyatt’s order states.
The game owners argue the law does not apply to their games because the payout was Internet time and not cash.
“I find this does not affect the machines’ illegality,” Pyatt ruled. “I find that the machines are also devices pertaining to games of chance.”
He said the South Carolina Supreme Court has “clearly ruled” such games are illegal.
“The machines are to be destroyed,” Pyatt ordered.
In its appeal filing, the game company says the court erred in its opinion that the “promotion” offered on the machines was not a legitimate promotion.
The company also maintains the state allows such games for promotional purposes under the beer and wine licensing.
No date has been set for the appeal to be heard in circuit court.
By Scott Harper
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