Allegations of violent crimes are aggressively prosecuted in South Carolina, but authorities can also be zealous about penalizing people accused of nonviolent crimes. Gambling, for instance, is strictly regulated in South Carolina, with the lottery being the only form of gambling legally allowed.
The owner of a coin laundry in Myrtle Beach will have to defend against a charge of illegal gambling after an undercover investigation allegedly revealed that the man was operating video poker machines. Police claim it was possible to switch the machines from a legal form of play to an illegal one.
According to police, someone complained about illegal gambling at the coin laundry, and an undercover officer investigated. Three video poker machines were seen at the establishment, and the officer apparently asked to play a different kind of game than the machines were offering.
The officer claims the business owner changed the type of game on two of the machines. A police report indicates that the officer used a $10 bill to play a video card game, and the officer later asked for and received $103 in winnings.
At that point, the supposed gambler revealed that he was a police officer, and police seized the video machines, the $103 in winnings and $897 in the office.
According to police, a magistrate then ordered the seized machines to be destroyed, and they were stored away as evidence.
Now the owner of the coin laundry is facing a criminal charge of gambling at a gaming house. If convicted, he could be hit with a fine and possible jail time. In some cases, however, it is possible to achieve a reduction or even a dismissal of charges. Investigating beyond the police report can sometimes reveal irregularities in police procedure, resulting in a favorable outcome for the defendant.
Source: myrtlebeachonline.com, "Myrtle Beach business owner arrested on gambling charge," Tonya Root, Sept. 30, 2013