Tag: Internet Sweepstakes Cafes

The Politics of the Internet Sweepstakes Raids in South Carolina

The Politics of Internet Sweepstakes Raids

Politics and intrigue too often inject themselves into what should be relatively straightforward issues in South Carolina. This has been especially true recently in government agendas related to internet sweepstakes cafes.

We have been reading recently of what is called the ‘Lexington Ring’ in blogs. Assertions have been made that this so-called cabal of law enforcement officials, magistrates and state legislators is conspiring to allow illegal video poker operations in the midlands.

“Make no mistake none of this is about video gambling. It is, all about assisting petition candidate Katrina Shealy in defeating incumbent Republican Sen. Jake Knotts in the November general election.”

General Assembly Action Needed on Internet Sweepstakes Cafes

Federal lawsuits, state arrests, judges giving opposing rulings on the same law and the current head and former head of SLED on different sides of the issue, this is the world of internet sweepstakes cafes in South Carolina.

Sound confusing – absolutely – but it is really an example of the General Assembly fiddling while South Carolina burns.

While the General Assembly spent a large portion of this year’s session determining how to spend an additional approximately $1.2 billion in unexpected excess revenue, it virtually ignored several bills introduced to regulate or outlaw the internet sweepstakes café industry.

Mark Keel, SLED Raid Internet Cafe's

SLED Raids Internet Sweepstakes Cafes

Two internet sweepstakes cafes, one in Richland County and one in Lexington County, were raided and shut down yesterday for illegal gambling by a combination of SLED agents and sheriff’s deputies.

End of problem right? Business owners trying to get around the state ban on gambling, except of course for the lottery, are now out of business.

Not really. Despite yesterday’s raids, an earlier opinion from Attorney General Alan Wilson that sweepstakes cafes are illegal gambling and confident statements by SLED chief Mark Keel that the games are illegal, they are NOT gambling.

In point of fact they are worse, but we’ll get to that later.