Sheriff issues warning to those operating gambling operations - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Sheriff issues warning to those operating gambling operations

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Machines confiscated in a December raid in Lexington County. (Source: Lexington County Sheriff's Department) Machines confiscated in a December raid in Lexington County. (Source: Lexington County Sheriff's Department)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

On the same day that the South Carolina Senate passed a bill specifying that sweepstakes machines are considered illegal gambling, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has issued a warning to those operating or possessing the machines in the county.

"Gambling (video gaming machines, internet sweepstakes, magic minutes and anything similar) is illegal in South Carolina," wrote Lott in a statement emailed to WIS Wednesday afternoon. 

Lott says his department continues to receive tips and information that businesses and citizens continue to operate gambling machine operations.    

"Let me be clear, that as long as it is a crime to gamble, or possess gaming machines, we will prosecute you," wrote Lott.

The sheriff said beginning January 21, his department will begin "actively locating and charging anyone possessing these gaming machines, operating illegal gambling operations, or playing the machines."

Lott said enforcement will include incorporated and unincorporated areas of Richland County.

South Carolina banned video gambling in 2000. Law enforcement officers say newly developed machines violate that prohibition.

Supporters of the machines say they are like contests offered by stores and even McDonald's. They sell products such as long-distance phone cards, then offer customers a chance for prizes.

Judges have issued conflicting rulings on the legality.

The bill now moves to the House for approval.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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