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PQQLK9
04-30-2004, 05:50 PM
Raid puts pool players behind 8 ball

Police cite 12 after breaking up weekly tournament at bar on Savannah Highway
BY PHILLIP CASTON
Of The Post and Courier Staff

For Wylie Lesslie, shooting a game of pool is his escape from the hectic daily chores of life. Occasionally, the 46-year-old family man and father of two daughters would wager five bucks in a friendly pool tournament at The Pour House on Savannah Highway in hopes of covering his bar tab for the night.
On Wednesday night, that weekly game wound up costing Lesslie dearly: a $475 fine for illegal gambling and the loss of his two pool cues, which were valued at $300.

Charleston police officers and State Law Enforcement Division agents raided The Pour House on Wednesday evening following an undercover investigation into the bar's weekly pool tournament that yielded an award of $55 to $80 for the night's winner.

For Lesslie, eight other participants, Pour House owner Alex Harris, and tournament organizer Robert Beard, the raid came as a shock because none of them said they knew they were breaking the law.

"At first I thought they were looking for drugs," Lesslie said. "I mean, we just go there to play pool and have fun. We're not looking to retire from the money on this."

Harris, who has owned The Pour House for two years, said he had no idea his weekly tournament would attract law enforcement to his establishment. Harris has been advertising the tournament in the City Paper for about a year, which is what alerted officers to the game earlier this month.

"We obviously weren't trying to hide anything here," said Harris, who added that he was not making money off the tournament.

On April 21, an officer from the Charleston police vice squad went undercover and entered the tournament, according to police. He observed money taken from the $5 dollar entry fee and used for operating the two pool tables for the games, officers said. The winner that night took home about $80, police said.

A week later, about seven law enforcement officials from Charleston police and SLED entered the bar with a search warrant that ordered all items related to billiards to be confiscated, Beard said.

"If you break the law and you're caught, you get punished," said police spokesman Charles Francis. "If you've got a place that's playing the numbers and using a telephone to call them in, that can be confiscated."

Along with seizing 15 pool cues, most of which belonged to the players in the tournament, officers also seized cue chalk, talcum powder, a triangle and the paper on which Beard wrote the tournament brackets. Officers also took $317 from Beard's wallet, which Beard said was his rent money. In addition, police confiscated money from the pool tables and cash register at the bar, totaling about $330.

The nine tournament players were given $475 tickets each, but Beard and the bartender, since she was the highest-ranking employee at the bar, were given $1,097 tickets for operating a gambling house, said Cpl. Randall McBrayer, who led the raid.

"To me, this is like a life sentence," said Beard, who said he'd never play pool for money in South Carolina again. "It's going to incriminate me for years to come."

McBrayer said vice officers were just doing their job by enforcing state law.

Harris received a ticket from SLED and could risk losing his liquor license over the incident, McBrayer said.

"I think it's very petty," Lesslie said. "For a bunch of guys betting what they would ordinarily spend for lunch at McDonald's, this is what we get."



Click here to return to story:
http://www.charleston.net/stories/043004/loc_30pourhouse.shtml

Nostroke
04-30-2004, 06:00 PM
Id like to see the reason the law was broken. I think they are implying that since some of the money was not returned to the players (it went to table time) that the house was taking a "cut" from this "gambling activity" and that made it illegal.

At anyrate, I think a good lawyer could get them their money,sticks etc back and then some!!

Ken
04-30-2004, 07:21 PM
I would suggest you be even more careful in South Carolina:

"A citizen may arrest a person in the nighttime by efficient means as the darkness and the probability of escape render necessary, even if the life of the person should be taken when the person being under circumstances which raise just suspicion of his design to steal or to commit some felony, flees when he is hailed"

TOUGH STATE!

South Carolina doesn't permit any wagering on games. You can have a billiard table in your bar but there must be no betting under state law.

"No carnival to which games of chance or gambling devices are attached shall exhibit in this State. Provided games of chance involving skill shall be permissible at recognized State and county fairs; provided, further, no cash prize shall be awarded".

I wonder if they permit any tournaments. It would seem that all tournaments would be illegal.
Ken in CT

Nightstalker
04-30-2004, 07:23 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Nostroke:</font><hr> Id like to see the reason the law was broken. I think they are implying that since some of the money was not returned to the players (it went to table time) that the house was taking a "cut" from this "gambling activity" and that made it illegal.

At anyrate, I think a good lawyer could get them their money,sticks etc back and then some!! <hr /></blockquote>

Oh yeah, easy. Those officers might have thought they were real cool at the time but they have no clue. They took the law to the extreme and they know it. They were probably trying to settle some sort of personal vendetta with one of the pool playing persons or the owner, etc. That is just ridiculous.

Ken
04-30-2004, 07:34 PM
Here's why it was a violation:

SECTION 16-19-40. Unlawful games and betting. [SC ST SEC 16-19-40]

If any person shall play at any tavern, inn, store for the retailing of spirituous liquors or in any house used as a place of gaming, barn, kitchen, stable or other outhouse, street, highway, open wood, race field or open place at (a) any game with cards or dice, (b) any gaming table, commonly called A, B, C, or E, O, or any gaming table known or distinguished by any other letters or by any figures, (c) any roley-poley table, (d) rouge et noir, (e) any faro bank (f) any other table or bank of the same or the like kind under any denomination whatsoever or (g) any machine or device licensed pursuant to Section 12-21-2720 and used for gambling purposes, except the games of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist when there is NO BETTING on any such game of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist or shall bet on the sides or hands of such as do game, upon being convicted thereof, before any magistrate, shall be imprisoned for a period of not over thirty days or fined not over one hundred dollars, and every person so keeping such tavern, inn, retail store, public place, or house used as a place for gaming or such other house shall, upon being convicted thereof, upon indictment, be imprisoned for a period not exceeding twelve months and forfeit a sum not exceeding two thousand dollars, for each and every offense. (emphasis added)

Ken in CT

Nightstalker
04-30-2004, 07:36 PM
"or fined not over one hundred dollars..."

Then why were the fines much higher and why no mention in the law of the confiscation of the playing equipment? That is BS.

JohnBarton
04-30-2004, 07:47 PM
How about we get a petition going to get this overturned. I think that on some level this could be an ACLU issue. There are obviously tournaments of all sorts in South Carolina with paid entry fees.

This story just pisses me off in how frivolously the goverment spends the taxpayer's money and resources.

I hope the bar owner and the players just kick the city and state's ass over this.

John

tateuts
04-30-2004, 07:49 PM
I can almost guarantee you that it wouldn't happen here in Southern California. About 20 years ago the police raided a ladies bowling league here who had weekly small bets going on. They cited these moms and grandmothers for gambling. People were furious and the outrage hit the front pages of the local newspapers. The police were so publicly ridiculed, the chief actually issued a public apology.

Chris

Ken
04-30-2004, 08:02 PM
Perhaps they confused the law with this one:

SECTION 16-19-50. Keeping unlawful gaming tables. [SC ST SEC 16-19-50]

Any person who shall set up, keep, or USE any (a) gaming table, commonly called A, B, C, or E, O, or any gaming table known or distinguished by any other letters or by any figures, (b) roley-poley table, (c) table to play at rouge et noir, (d) faro bank (e) any other gaming table or bank of the like kind or of any other kind for the purpose of gaming, or (f) any machine or device licensed pursuant to Section 12-21-2720 and used for gambling purposes except the games of billiards, bowls, chess, draughts, and backgammon, upon being convicted thereof, upon indictment, shall forfeit a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars and not less than two hundred dollars.


This law seems to permit the use of billiard tables and also gambling on the games. The laws appear to be conflicting and there might be a defense to these arrests. Might it be worth spending $20,000 to try it?

You lose the money you bet:

SECTION 16-19-80. Forfeiture of wagers. [SC ST SEC 16-19-80]

All and every sum or sums of money staked, betted or pending on the event of any such game or games as aforesaid are hereby declared to be forfeited.


Ken in CT

striker_3
04-30-2004, 09:05 PM
I now live in Charleston. When I asked why there were very few tournaments, I was told about the law. I thought they were joking. I guess now I have to figure out how to play on barboxes so I can play in one of those leagues with the weird rules.

Popcorn
04-30-2004, 09:15 PM
I would not draw any more attention to it then necessary. I would say most all tournaments are illegal. In most cities you need to pull a permit and pay a fee, sometimes quite a bit, to run any kind of event, art show, what ever. In some cases the promoter has to have a license to promote a sporting event. Non of this is the case with any tournaments that happen every week. Even the players would be obliged to report tournament winnings at the end of the year. Don't open any cans of worms you may be sorry.

Nostroke
04-30-2004, 09:42 PM
Ken- That law seems to be specific to Carnivals. There are plenty of golf tournaments in SC, not to mention Car Racing. They all have cash awards.

haywood
04-30-2004, 10:04 PM
Man, this is how it should be. We've got folks running around this country who are plotting and planning some very serious crimes. And what are the cops doing to thwart these plans? Setting up stings to take down the weekly $80.00 local pool tournament. Kinda makes you wonder why we have problems with illegal immigrants wanting to cross the border. I wonder would thier minds be changed if they saw how retarded our justice system can be at times? Sorry, but this has to be one of the all-time worst law enforcement moves I have ever heard about. Perhaps since the cops didn't do anything to let the people who were popped know that they were doing something wrong that an entrapment case sould be brought into play, since they weren't trying to hide the details of what they were doing with holding a tournament. Anyway you cut it, that's dirty pool on behalf of the fuzz.

Chris Cass
04-30-2004, 10:42 PM
You've got to be kidding me. That was some sting operation there. It also didn't take them long to catch on after reading that newspaper for a yr. What's really criminal is the fines the tickets the confiscations. That's stealing IMHO.

Tell ya what. I'd be suing them for full value of any damaged property because you know they won't store anything the right way. That is the most lainbrain thing I've ever heard of. They need to join the rest of the country in the 21st century. I'd fire that chief of police if I was the mayor. Matter of fact, I'd get rid of the dang mayor.

Regards,

C.C.~~Iraq is more up to date. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

KevinT
04-30-2004, 11:43 PM
Only in America:

* One murder every 33 minutes.
* One violent crime every 5.5 seconds.
* One robbery every 50 seconds.
* One assault every 6.5 seconds.
* One theft every 2 seconds.
* One burglary every 10 seconds.
* One rape/sexual assault every 2 minutes.
* 62 women are victimized by an intimate every hour.
* A child is abused and/or neglected in America every 36 seconds.
* Every 19 seconds a violent crime is committed against a person at work or on duty.
* A person is killed in an alcohol-related traffic crash every 41 minutes.
* An identity theft is reported every 6 minutes.
* 3 women and/or men become victims of stalking every minute.

http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbID=DB_2001CrimeClock100

While the cops waste their time and our money breaking up $80/week pool tournaments. /ccboard/images/graemlins/mad.gif

Hopster
05-01-2004, 01:18 AM
Biggest fine we ever had to pay was $100 and got it knocked down to disorderly conduct, and this was for a full blown casino. They broke these guys balls for a pool tourny ??
Law enforcement at its finest, making the public safe and secure.
Somebody probably forgot to send the cheif his envelope that month. lol

Vagabond
05-01-2004, 04:59 AM
Howdy,
If one believes that the law is Draconian/Talibonic/moronic/plain Evil/stupid,one has to blame the framers of such laws and the people that elect that kind of law makers.We can find similar laws in all the 50 states of America.This is the land of Laws and it is the most regulated society on earth and enjoy it.Cheers
Vagabond

NH_Steve
05-01-2004, 05:17 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote JohnBarton:</font><hr> ... I think that on some level this could be an ACLU issue. There are obviously tournaments of all sorts in South Carolina with paid entry fees.

John <hr /></blockquote>This is just the sort of thing the BCA should jump on by offering financial &amp; legal assistance to fight -- too bad they decided to blow their legal budget helping out the tobacco industry /ccboard/images/graemlins/mad.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/mad.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/mad.gif

Ken
05-01-2004, 07:45 AM
Nostroke,
The law specifically prohibits carnivals from using any gambling devices but the law also permits games of skill at fairs as long as no cash prizes are given out.

There is no reason you could not have a contest of skill and give out cash prizes as long as you put up the cash. If the cash that is given out comes from entry fees then it would probably be illegal.

South Carolina is unusual in that is does not permit the participants to bet on a game of skill. It seems more common to exempt that practice from the gambling laws. That seems to be what most states do. The legislators probably should change the laws to put them in step with most other states.
Ken in CT

Wally_in_Cincy
05-01-2004, 08:49 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote PQQLK9:</font><hr>

Along with seizing 15 pool cues, most of which belonged to the players in the tournament, officers also seized cue chalk, talcum powder, a triangle and the paper on which Beard wrote the tournament brackets. Officers also took $317 from Beard's wallet, which Beard said was his rent money. In addition, police confiscated money from the pool tables and cash register at the bar, totaling about $330.

The nine tournament players were given $475 tickets each, but Beard and the bartender, since she was the highest-ranking employee at the bar, were given $1,097 tickets for operating a gambling house, said Cpl. Randall McBrayer, who led the raid.... <hr /></blockquote>

A money grab, pure and simple.

Pardon me if I'm wrong but isn't SC the state with video poker machines in almost every public place imaginable?

Fasteddy7
05-01-2004, 09:31 AM
They did away with that a couple years ago. Now they have the state lottery, so now its ok cause they are getting their cut.

Chris Cass
05-01-2004, 10:17 AM
Tap, Tap, Tap Steve,

They did blow the best sponsor for sure. As long as were dealing with the smoke we should get something out of it.

Regards,

C.C.~~just my .02

stick8
05-01-2004, 10:33 AM
Can anyone explane the diffrence in this ? I play in pool tournament I pay 5.00 entry fee to play. I win collect $80.00 next day play In golf tournament, pay $50.00 entry fee. win collect $200.00. ran by school booster club, have I broken the law? live in Georgia, what is the difference????? confused!!!!!!

Troy
05-01-2004, 10:41 AM
About the only difference is in the State laws.
In California the law does not care as long as there's NO SIDE ACTION.

Here's an example of different laws/statutes --
One city says it's OK for any age person to visit a Pool Room, another city says age 18 or over unless with a parent or "adult", a third city says only age 21 or above. These cities are adjacent to another.

Troy
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote stick8:</font><hr> Can anyone explane the diffrence in this ? I play in pool tournament I pay 5.00 entry fee to play. I win collect $80.00 next day play In golf tournament, pay $50.00 entry fee. win collect $200.00. ran by school booster club, have I broken the law? live in Georgia, what is the difference????? confused!!!!!! <hr /></blockquote>

Chris Cass
05-01-2004, 06:29 PM
The only difference between legal and illeagal is tax.

Regards,

C.C.

Ken
05-01-2004, 07:41 PM
In Georgia:

16-12-20.
As used in this part...A bet does not include:
(B) An offer of a prize, award, or compensation to the actual contestants in any bona fide contest for the determination of skill, speed, strength, or endurance or to the owners of animals, vehicles, watercraft, or aircraft entered in such contest.


This is the difference between Georgia and South Carolina. It is typical language for those states that permit wagering between contestants in contests invloving skill and the holding of tournaments.
Ken in CT

Popcorn
05-02-2004, 01:22 AM
quote
"This is the land of Laws and it is the most regulated society on earth"

That is not true at all. I have traveled to many countries and from what I saw people in other countries are scared to death of any police. I was arrested in Germany for trying to return an item in a store I bought only 5 minutes earlier. The idea of your money back is a concept they don't understand. My car was towed away for over time parking in Belgium. I was gone about an hour. You go anywhere else and you can feel the lack of freedom like a vale over you. In most other countries you can be imprisoned for nothing. In Spain you can be thrown in jail for having a car accident. I had a friend who sat in a Mexican jail for two years for doing nothing and had a $200,000 boat seized that he never got back. His family kept paying money trying to get him out of jail. His father died of a heart attack as a result of it and his mother just refused to pay any more money. In one month he was released once the money stopped. Trust me, this is the best place to live. I have no desire to ever leave this country again.

JohnBarton
05-02-2004, 09:48 AM
I agree and disagree with Popcorn. My experiences in Europe were a lot different. Yes, these countries are often configured differently but not in a bad way. A lot of things that we consider important are considered trivial in Europe. I was at a concert where the police were being harrassed and yet they maintained a high degree of professionalism and did not attack and brutalize the people giving them a hard time. Conversely I was once served with a ticket based on a supposed violation witnessed by another citizen. ( I beat that one).

America is not the greatest place to live for a lot of reasons and it is the greatest place to live for a lot of reasons as well.

Until there is no more frivolous raids like this one and health care for all in the USA it will not be the greatest country on Earth. The USA is just a big land with a lot of people who are fortunate enough to have been born into a human rights based democracy. Less fortunate are those Americans who are victims of other Americans who abuse the power they wield.

John

Candyman
05-02-2004, 11:41 AM
Please don't confuse Charleston with the rest of South Carolina. People from SC have always concidered Charleston as a separate country. They have their on rules and way of doing things. They had liqour by the drink many years before the state made it legal. Gambling has also been big in Charleston. It is all about pay-offs. You play by the rules (not state law) or you get busted. Somebody in the pool room (probably the owner) pi$$ed off the wrong person and they paid the price. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

Bob C
05-02-2004, 09:40 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Until there is no more frivolous raids like this one and health care for all in the USA it will not be the greatest country on Earth. <hr /></blockquote> --John Barton

The suspense is killing me--If not the USA, what is the greatest country on Earth?

catscradle
05-03-2004, 06:12 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Wally_in_Cincy:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote PQQLK9:</font><hr>

A money grab, pure and simple.

<hr /></blockquote>

I think you nailed it!

catscradle
05-03-2004, 06:16 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Wally_in_Cincy:</font><hr>

A money grab, pure and simple.

<hr /></blockquote>

Bingo!

JohnBarton
05-03-2004, 04:01 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Bob C:</font><hr> &lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt;
Until there is no more frivolous raids like this one and health care for all in the USA it will not be the greatest country on Earth. <hr /></blockquote> --John Barton

New Zealand :-) Actually none. The USA has a lot to atone for as does practically every country on earth. Just about every culture, civiliation, government and tribe has been oppressive and torturous in some capacity. The USA "ought" to be the shining light in all areas of human care and kindness but we aren't. We are very well the most humanitarian country on Earth and at the same time we have the most daily violence against each other.

People's lives are ruined daily because there is NO health care safety net. I guess this is what keeps me from embracing America as much as I should. America needs a serious overhaul and then she will be the most cherry of a country that anyone could imagine. As it is I wouldn't want to live much anywhere else.

John

The suspense is killing me--If not the USA, what is the greatest country on Earth? <hr /></blockquote>