Horry Co. stays firm on sweepstakes machines

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – The issue of Sweepstakes machines continues to sweep through state and local headlines. There's new state legislation that could potentially make them illegal in the Palmetto State. On Thursday morning, a group of Horry County leaders discussed the issue and if the county should revisit their regulation.

The infrastructure and regulatory committee decided during Thursday's meeting not to bring up the issue to county council. Sweepstakes machines will still be illegal in Horry County.

Over the years, Horry County hasn't issued a single license to businesses that would allow sweepstakes machines. There are county laws in place that makes having them illegal. In Thursday's meeting, County Planning Director Janet Carter mentioned the bill in the state going to the House floor. That bill states sweepstakes machines are a form of illegal gambling.

Carter said they will keep an eye on what's happening in Columbia, however, she cautioned that it's too soon to know if that bill will become South Carolina law. Carter also wants to make sure the county is ready to handle several possibilities. If state government or a higher court gives businesses the green light to have sweepstake machines, Carter said the county should have zoning laws in place that would keep the machines in certain zones.

The infrastructure and regulatory committee will put the discussion on hold for now, and in the meantime, the county is staying firm on its position.

"There are judges across the states that have mixed opinions about this," said Lisa Bourcier, Spokeswoman for Horry County.  "But currently, we've been pretty solid in the county when it comes to our solicitor's office and our local magistrate judges to hold strong that those are illegal businesses."

The infrastructure and regulation committee will discuss the sweepstakes issue at its next meeting in March.

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