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“Open Season” For Video Poker In SC

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LOOMING ANDERSON COUNTY SCANDAL SHOWS “ILLEGAL” INDUSTRY IS THRIVING …

Multiple current and former city and county law enforcement officials in Anderson County, S.C. are accused of tipping off video poker operators to forthcoming raids by agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), sources familiar with the situation tell FITSNews.

As many as five sworn law enforcement agents are reportedly implicated in the scam – which we’re told includes cases that were active as recently as last year.

We don’t yet have the specific names and ranks of those individuals alleged to be a part of this scandal, but we can say the allegations involve law enforcement officers affiliated (or formerly affiliated) with the Anderson County sheriff’s department and the city of Anderson, S.C. police department.

Video poker was outlawed by order of the S.C. Supreme Court in 2000.  In a decision we believe to have been reached erroneously, the justices blocked a referendum that would have given Palmetto State residents the right to vote on the legality of these machines.

We believe voters should have had that right … but we also believe the S.C. General Assembly is authorized to approve whatever gambling operations it wishes.  Unfortunately, sanctimonious state lawmakers prefer to rail against the “evils” of gambling – even as they operate a government-run gambling monopoly (the so-called S.C. Education Lottery).

Just because video poker is illegal doesn’t mean it’s not big business – especially when corrupt politicians and crooked cops get in on the action, as they infamously did in Lexington County, S.C. not long ago.

Remember the “Lexington Ring?”  We do … we reported on this cabal relentlessly beginning back in 2012, only to see very little in the way of justice related to the scandal.

Of course this is South Carolina … what were we honestly expecting?

According to our sources, the Lexington Ring is one of dozens of underground criminal networks in the Palmetto State that use video poker as a moneymaking tool.  In fact, we’re told there are anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 video poker machines currently operating in South Carolina.

That number is likely to go up – especially if SLED is unable to conduct raids without corrupt local cops tipping off the machine operators.

Speaking of … we reached out to SLED spokesman Thom Berry about the Anderson allegations.

“If anyone has information about such activity we’d like to hear from them,” Berry told us.

Individuals with information can contact SLED via telephone (803-737-9000 or submit their tips via U.S. Mail to Post Office Box 21398, Columbia, SC 29221.

As we noted in a recent report, video poker is part of an ongoing debate as to how best to expand private sector gaming in the Palmetto State – a debate that is rapidly heating up at the S.C. State House.

Stay tuned for much more on this issue … as well as the accompanying politics.

(Banner via iStock)

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