Charleston may open door for more Internet gambling cafes - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Charleston may open door for more Internet gambling cafes

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

The City of Charleston is considering allowing more Internet gambling cafes to open in certain areas of the city.

Right now, a moratorium is in place on permits for the controversial cafes, which critics call video poker parlors in disguise.

Supporters say unlike the outlawed video poker, the players take home winnings are based on credits and the odds of winning are predetermined.

The Coffee Cafe on Savannah Highway apparently is the only Internet cafe operating in the City of Charleston.

That soon may change. A memo from city attorneys to city council members recommends allowing the cafes to operate in industrial areas away from churches and schools.

The attorneys say it may be difficult to prosecute the businesses and close them down.

The memo states "To do nothing would open the door to these establishments setting up shop in virtually any commercial area."

It also states, "To ban them outright places the burden on the city to defend the ban, against the specialized interests of the industry."

City council members will have three options when they meet next Wednesday night. They can vote to extend the moratorium on the cafes, ban them outright, or allow the businesses to operate in designated areas.

©2012 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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