Future of sweepstakes business still on hold

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The crackdown of sweepstakes businesses in the area continues, and with it continues the confusion over whether or not the machines are illegal.

The controversy over sweepstakes is bigger than just Horry County. Similar businesses are all over the Palmetto State. Today, the County Council is considering a moratorium, to wait while the state decides the legalities of sweepstakes.

The Infrastructure and Regulation Committee is suggesting a one-year moratorium on issuing licenses for sweepstakes businesses.

The legality of sweepstakes is currently being discussed among state legislators.

"We don't know what's going to happen at the court level or at the legislation level," explains Janet Carter, the Horry County Planning Director.

If state lawmakers decide sweepstakes businesses are legal, the moratorium would give the county time to review zoning regulations. County Planners would consider where sweepstakes should be located.

"That will give us a year to study the issues, to propose amendments to our zoning ordinance if necessary," says Carter, on behalf of the I & R Committee.

The I & R says the County has not issued a single license to a business allowing sweepstakes machines.

"If there are any existing right now, they are operating illegally. We do not permit sweepstakes businesses in Horry County," says Carter.

However, it has been an issue on the Grand Strand and around the state as more businesses find loopholes in laws regarding gambling.

"Right now, sweepstakes are not legal in South Carolina, Horry County is not permitting them. There have been seizures of businesses that have set up without the appropriate permits. They've had their machines seized by the police and by SLED," expresses Carter.

There will be a series of votes from the County Council before the moratorium can take affect.

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