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No Sweepstakes Machines In Richland County?

8:34 AM, Jan 26, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - For months a debate has raged around the Midlands.  

The question has been whether sweepstakes machines were a type of gambling machines. 

In Richland County, the machines have been deemed illegal.

Sheriff Leon Lott gave businesses a grace period to get remove their machines and it had  people questioning his actions.

"It's everything, it's the magic minutes, it's the sweepstakes winning, it's the pot of gold," said Sheriff Lott.

Last year internet cafe's popped up all around Richland County with sweepstakes machines.  Now that the machines are illegal, Sheriff Lott gave owners of the  devices a grace period to remove them. 

"Our goal was to get the gambling machines out of Richland County, to go around and seize machines, make arrests, takes a lot of man power, a lot of resources and a lot of money," said Lott.

The grace period worked.  

Deputies checked out the internet cafe's and other businesses that had the machines and found just one.  

All of the other known businesses and machines were gone. In fact one of the cafe's on Two Notch road in Columbia, is  for sale. Another  has it's sign up but appeared to have nothing inside.

"They know that we are not going to tolerate it and they know if they get another one back in we are going to make an arrest and make a seizure."

Lott says business owners have been working with the department. For those who still have the illegal machines in their store, Lott wants them to know that grace period has run out and it's time to enforce the law.

"There is no doubt about it they are illegal and we don't want them in Richland County and we want them gone. If we can get them out then fine but if not then we are going to go and seize them, we are going to write tickets, we are going to make arrests, we are going to do everything we can to make sure the law is complied with."




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