Spartanburg passes gaming machine restrictions - FOX Carolina 21

Spartanburg passes gaming machine restrictions

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Some video sweepstakes and gaming machines are legal in South Carolina. (File/FOX Carolina) Some video sweepstakes and gaming machines are legal in South Carolina. (File/FOX Carolina)

Restrictions were passed during Monday's Spartanburg City Council meeting about various video gaming or sweepstakes machines.

Video poker machines are illegal, but it's the Internet cafes and sweepstakes machines that now fall under a gray area of restrictions, leaving business owners and consumers wondering what is and is not legal.

It's a move some business owners are happy about as they try to shake a bad image.

A little more than a year ago the man who runs Pappy's Old Fashioned BBQ said the space where his restaurant is located was once a store front for video gaming.

"We've tried to turn this into a family restaurant and do away with anything associated with bars and gaming," said Lee Downey, Pappy's owner.

Downey said the old business was busted for having video poker machines stacked side by side, hidden in a storage closet - and that bad image has been hard to shake.

A resolution on Monday night's city council agenda hoped to remedy some of those notions and provide restrictions on the machines.

Some of the restrictions that were approved included customers must be 18 years or older to frequent Internet cafes, no alcohol can be served, and there are now limitations to how close to schools and churches and other institutions, according to Spartanburg City Attorney Cathy McCabe.

There are still gray areas because approval for gaming machines will be on a case-by-case basis.

"With video poker machines it's much easier because they were all made the same but with these Internet cafe sweepstakes devices all of them have different ways they use the Internet so it's difficult to make that determination," said McCabe.

The city is still waiting for the state to push a moratorium through. Until then, the restrictions are in place within the city limits of Spartanburg. McCabe said there are currently no operating cafes in the city limits.

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