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Status of Gambling Laws - Part 5: South Carolina - Wyoming, American Possessions20 February 2002
The following are American jurisdictions having recent activity concerning legal gambling.
* States and territories with gaming devices are marked with an asterisk: *
! States with at least one casino (defined as having both banking card games and slot-like machines) are marked with an exclamation point: !
SOUTH CAROLINA - The state's 14-year experiment with video poker ended at 12:01 a.m. on July 1, 2000. A month later, the State Supreme Court held a law preventing the now nonexistent slot machines from advertising was unconstitutional. At its height, South Carolina had 34,000 devices (Nevada has only 17,922 slots outside of casinos) and attracted more than $2.1 billion in wagers, for $610 million profits. Voters in 30 of 46 counties approved cash payouts in 1996. The Legislature had passed a bill closing down the slots unless approved at a Nov. 1999 referendum. In Oct. 2000, the State Supreme Court threw out the referendum but upheld the shutdown. A judge ruled that it is now illegal to manufacture slot machines chassis in the state. In July 1999 the U.S. 4th Circuit ruled state laws apply to cruises-to-nowhere. In Summer 2001 the State Supreme Court ruled casino cruises legal; but Atty. Gen. Charlie Condon issued opinions that slots used legally on casino boats violate state law when stored on South Carolina soil or used on its rivers. Bills to kill the casino ships have passed the House but have gotten killed in the Senate. Even local laws apply: In Sept. 2001 Horry County Council supervisors rejected a proposal that would have put a one-year moratorium on new casino boat launching points or support facilities. Jim Hodges beat Republican incumbent Gov. David Beasley in Nov. 1998 by supporting a State Lottery and by not opposing video poker. In Nov. 2000, voters approved amending the constitution to allow a State Lottery, but the Legislature did not pass an enabling law until Sept. 2001.
!* SOUTH DAKOTA - Another big defeat for the "antis" in Nov. 2000. Voters decided, again, to keep video lottery machines, 54% to 46%, the same as in 1994. In 2001 a House committee voted to not let opponents have a third attempt. Voters also approved, 52% to 48%, raising bet limits from $5 to $100 in the 40 casinos in Deadwood (gross gaming revenue of only $52 million), which will also raise the limits in the state's 10 tribal casinos. The higher limit doubled monthly gaming revenues. A similar proposal lost in 1993. The State Lottery's 7,959 VLTs were declared unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court in June 1994, but voters reinstated the gaming devices by amending the state constitution in the Nov. 1994 election. In May 2001, the State Fair Commission banned VLTs from state fairgrounds.
TENNESSEE - The State Legislature approved a bill to block casino gambling; casinos would require a constitutional amendment, in any case. Longtime gambling foe Gov. Sundquist looked like he might have been coming around, but politically this kills the idea. The Legislature also approved letting voters decide whether they want to amend the constitution in Nov. 2002 to allow a State Lottery.
TEXAS - A federal judge ruled the Tiguas must close their Speaking Rock casino in El Paso by Nov. 30, 2001, because Congress made the tribe subject to Texas state laws in 1987, when it gave the tribe federal recognition. The decision would likely prevent another tribe, the Alabama-Coushatta, from opening a casino. Acting Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff killed a bill which would have let the state's three tribes have casinos. The Kickapoos (the third tribe) lost a case over gaming devices. A Texas Atty. Gen. ruled the Legislature could not authorize commercial casinos without a constitutional amendment. George W. Bush was unsuccessful as governor in trying to kill eight-liners -- the Senate even voted to let the slots give bingo card prizes at bingo halls and parimutuel betting tickets at tracks. In July 1999, Lone Star Park joined tracks in California, Kansas and Kentucky in allowing drive-through betting windows.
UTAH - In Feb. 2001 the State Legislature killed a bill that would have required State Lottery advertisements to boldly display the words "void in Utah."
VERMONT - A bill to allow casinos on railroads didn't leave the station. A racetrack in the southern part of the state is campaigning hard for slot machines and a bill to allow full casinos is pending.
VIRGINIA - In 1994, a riverboat casino bill sank under the weight of excess baggage when Disney's proposed historic theme park got tacked on. The bills were reintroduced in 1995, for the third time, and were again defeated. Recent proposals to bring race tracks to northern Virginia were attacked by state legislators as "gambling parlors masquerading as legitimate businesses."
!* WASHINGTON - Twenty tribes have casinos without true slots. (IGRA grandfathered-in one with true slots). The tribes sued the state, but the Ninth Circuit dismissed the suit after the U.S. Supreme Court's Seminole decision. Voters turned down proposals for tribal slots in 1995 and 1996. But the tribes now have slot-like video lottery and linked bingo machines. In an attempt to level the playing field, the Legislature allowed privately owned cardrooms to have house-banked blackjack. There are now more than 40 mini-casinos; Gov. Locke supports bills to limit their growth.
* WEST VIRGINIA - Gov. Bob Wise succeeded in his campaign to legalize and tax video poker machines. A federal judge recently dismissed a challenge, saying the suit should be brought in state court. There are now 13,500 gray market machines. On Jan. 1, 2002, there should be about 9,000 legal slots at the state's four tracks (2 greyhound and 2 thoroughbred -- maximum bet raised from $2 to $5), bars, clubs, restaurants and fraternal organizations. Outlawed are slots at gas stations, grocery and convenience stores. Showboat sued to exercise its option over Charles Town Racetrack, contending coin-drop video slot machines turns the track into a casino. Greenbrier County voters rejected the unique "Limited Gaming Facility Act" on Nov. 7, 2000, so Greenbrier Resort will not have a casino open only to registered overnight guests of the hotel. The law prevents any newly built track from having gaming devices. Jefferson County voted in Nov. 1996 to permit VLTs at Charles Town Races; the voters had turned the track down in 1994. Former Gov. Underwood let a bill allowing VLTs to accept coins become law without his signature. Mountaineer Racetrack and Gaming Resort would like to have telephone account wagering.
!* WISCONSIN - Dairyland Greyhound Park (opened 1990, handle down 50% since tribes opened casinos) is suing Gov. Scott McCallum, claiming a 1993 law bars any compact renewals. Gov. McCallum is blocking three Chippewa bands from opening a 1,500 slot machine casino at the bankrupt St. Croix Meadows greyhound racing track, despite approval by the BIA. He said 17 casinos (all with slots, most also have blackjack) and 16,000 games of chance are enough. Former Gov. Tommy Thompson would not renew the compact with the Oneidas after the tribe failed to pay the state $4.85 million in gambling profits; the tribe questioned how the state had been spending the money. The original compacts began expiring in 1998, but were mostly renewed when tribes agreed to raise the gambling age to 21 and the state's share from $400,000 to $20 million a year. On Jan 5, 2000 Thompson signed a law lowering the punishment for a tavern caught with five or fewer video gambling machines to a $500 fine; a bill to completely legalize the machines is pending. In Nov. 2000, voters in Beloit approved while those in La Crosse County rejected non-binding referendums for tribal casinos.
WYOMING - An initiative to allow full casinos was defeated 2 to 1 in Nov. 1994. State law allows limited sports betting. The Arapahos have filed suit against the state in federal court to get a compact and the state has asked the Wyoming Supreme Court for an opinion.
AMERICAN SAMOA - Proposals for a land-based casino and cruise ship gaming have been considered by the Legislature.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - A riverboat casino initiative failed to get enough legitimate signatures. Of 45,000 signatures gathered, fewer than 15,000 were from voters. "Monte Carlo" nights for charities are a growing concern.
!* COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANAS - Casinos with slots are legal on Tinian.
* GUAM - Gaming devices are legal. In Nov. 1996, an initiative to allow full casinos to compete with those on the nearby Northern Marianas was defeated at the polls.
!* PUERTO RICO - Commonwealth-licensed full casinos with a strange twist: The government used to own the slot machines. A movement to privatize developed in 1996.
!* VIRGIN ISLANDS - Local voters approved the concept of legalized casinos in a non-binding referendum in Nov. 1994. The Legislature agreed, and the first licensed land-based casino opened in St. Croix in April 2000. The Legislature recently voted to allow cruise ships calling in St. Thomas to keep their casinos open while in port, provided the ship remains docked beyond 6:00 p.m. The Senate passed a Video Lottery bill in July 2001, which could permit gaming devices throughout the islands. It will be the first U.S. jurisdiction to issue licenses for Internet gambling websites.
Professor I. Nelson Rose is an internationally known scholar, public speaker and writer and is recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on gambling law. A 1979 graduate of Harvard Law School, he is a tenured full Professor at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, California, where he teaches one of the first law school classes on gaming law.
Professor Rose is the author of more than 300 books, articles, book chapters and columns. He is best known for his internationally syndicated column, "Gambling and the Law®," and his landmark 1986 book by the same name. His most recent book is a collection of columns and analysis, co-authored with Bob Loeb, called Blackjack and the Law.
Professor Rose is currently working on two books that will be published in 2002. He is co-authoring the first casebook on gaming law, Gaming Law: Cases and Materials, for Lexis Publishing; and, for Mary Ann Liebert Publishers, Gambling and the Law®: The Law of Internet Gambling.
A consultant to governments and industry, Professor Rose has testified as an expert witness in administrative, civil and criminal cases in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, and has acted as a consultant to major law firms, international corporations, licensed casinos, players, Indian tribes, and local, state and national governments, including Arizona, California, Florida, New Jersey, Texas and the federal governments of Canada and the United States.
With the rising interest in gambling throughout the world, Professor Rose has spoken before such diverse groups as the F.B.I., National Conference of State Legislatures, Congress of State Lotteries of Europe, United States Conference of Mayors, and the National Academy of Sciences. He has presented scholarly papers on gambling in Nevada, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, England, Australia, Antigua, Portugal, Italy, Argentina and the Czech Republic.
Gambling and the Law®: Status of Gambling Laws
©Copyright November 18, 2001, all rights reserved worldwide. Gambling and the Law® is a registered trademark of Professor I. Nelson Rose, Whittier Law School, Costa Mesa, California.
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