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The SC Gambling Monopolists Strike Again



S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and her “Republican” allies in the General Assembly are your typical “do as we say, not as we do” politicians.

On taxes, spending, education reform, transparency and a host of other issues, the surest way to determine their actual position on something is to listen to what’s coming out of their word holes … and assume they’re doing the opposite.

Take the issue of gambling … which on the one hand is a “Great Satan” that cannot be permitted under any circumstances in our state. Well … unless of course the state runs (and profits from) the racket. In that case, Haley and her GOP allies are 100 percent supportive of gambling.

South Carolina taxpayers were sold on the implementation of a government-run lottery back in 2000 because they thought it would benefit “public education.” Of course that’s patently false – the money doesn’t go to government-run schools, it goes to this crap instead. Seriously … you thought those “Lottery = Education” bumper stickers were telling you the truth?

Yeah right.

Also, as any South Carolina parent struggling to pay for escalating college tuition costs will tell you, the lottery has not made higher education more affordable.

Earlier this year the state took additional steps to solidify its gambling monopoly by banning so-called “internet sweepstakes” machines.

Sweepstakes machines sell items (most commonly long distance phone cards) prior to offering users the opportunity to win prizes via some sort of game – not unlike how McDonald’s sells french fries prior to offering diners a chance to win prizes via its Monopoly game. Video poker machines, on the other hand, have no “point of purchase” associated with them – they’re purely games of chance.

Frankly, we believe any electronic game (of skill or chance) should be 100 percent legal – but in the meantime video game operators are being shut down left and right even though their products have absolutely nothing to do with gambling.

Bottom line: If you have a touchscreen game in a bar or convenience station in South Carolina, the default presumption is it must be illegal.

And this year – after adopting a laissez faire approach to these machines for decades – the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has decided to start aggressively targeting these games for seizure (whether they are video poker machines or not). Of course this is the same agency which sat idly by for months last year while a cabal of crooked cops and corrupt politicians in Lexington County, S.C. ran its own video poker ring out of Lexington County – a criminal enterprise which has yet to be held accountable for its actions, incidentally.

Crazy, right?

In an effort to restore some semblance of sanity to this process, S.C. Rep. Bill Herbkersman (R-Beaufort) has introduced legislation aimed at clarifying what constitutes a “video poker” machine in South Carolina. Herbkersman’s bill would also establish a process by which video machines were certified as legal – and registered with the state.

In other words there would be no confusion as to what a “video poker” machine is – and isn’t.

On cue, South Carolina’s government – and its government-backed media – attacked the bill, referring to it as “another back-door attempt to bring back video poker.” In fact the pro-government newspaper The (Columbia, S.C.) State ran a big headline earlier this week entitled: “Could SC see a revival in video poker?


Nothing could be further from the truth, people.

This is crass media fear-mongering at the behest of South Carolina’s big government gambling monopolists … pure and simple. And both The State (and the appointed and elected officials it quoted in its piece) should be embarrassed to be involved in such baseless propagandizing.

In fact it reminds us of the baseless propagandizing The State engages in as part of its ongoing efforts to defend another failed state monopoly …