Attorney General Seeks Clarification of Gaming Ruling

COLUMBIA, S.C. — State Attorney General Henry McMaster said he plans to ask the South Carolina Supreme Court to issue a clearer ruling about the powers of judges in deciding whether certain video gaming devices are legal.

The high court ruled Friday that “Chess Challenge II” machines are illegal and can be seized by state police. The ruling overturned a Circuit Court decision.

However, the court fell short of banning judges from declaring certain machines legal. State law and other Supreme Court rulings have said games must be judged machine by machine.

However, in at least two cases since video gambling was outlawed in 2000, Circuit Court judges have ruled a whole group of machines were legal.

The State Law Enforcement Division had asked the high court to curb the ability of Circuit Court judges to do that with this case. But the high court simply ruled that the Chess Challenge II machines were games of chance, not skill, and illegal under state law.

Tighter Slot Machines Help Casinos Boost Annual Win Percentage

Early snowfalls negated the advantages of Lady Luck and an easy comparison to the previous year, leaving the casino industry with tepid revenue growth in December.

The dozen casinos won $320.4 million from gamblers last month, up 2.8 percent over the same month a year earlier, the Casino Control Commission reported Friday.

For the full year, the casinos won $4.5 billion from gamblers, an increase of 2.4 percent over the previous year. That marks the industry’s 25th consecutive year of revenue growth.

Revenue at the 11 casinos open a year ago declined 9.3 percent in December as they continued to lose business to the new Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

Borgata had powered the industry to 9 percent revenue growth in each of the previous two months, but two weekends of early-December snow in Atlantic City’s feeder markets kept gamblers away.

The placement of New Year’s Eve on a Wednesday didn’t help, either

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