In a rather interesting piece of United States gambling news from South Carolina this week, an ex-policeman who has spent the best part of a decade hunting down illegal gaming machines, has done a u-turn and in an amazing twist of fate, now represents and advocates gaming machines; though the legality of these new machines to still being debated.
Up until July of 2011, Reggie Lloyd was a much respected chief of the State Law Enforcement Division in South Carolina, an division within the police that is responsible for the seizure and destruction of video poker machines within the state. Now however, being a private practice attorney in Columbia, he represents companies who have produce new gaming machines, that they saw are illegal under either the state or the current American gambling laws.
At present judges across the state are divided in their opinions on whether or not the machines are either legal or illegal in South Carolina, and the matter could indeed find itself before South Carolina’s Supreme Court before long.
The new gambling machines, which can be found everywhere across the state, not just in poker rooms but sometimes even in stores, do not differ greatly in appearance from the old machines, which were hunted down for nearly ten years by the ex-cop. Adding further fuel to the debate that the machines are actually one and the same as those that had come before them.
Whilst the South Carolina police have seized many of the new machines already, the companies who produce the machines say that despite their appearance, the machines are similar to promotions offered by shops and fast food restaurant chains like McDonalds, offering prizes and sweepstakes.
Mr. Lloyd told The Associated Press that, “these are legal, it’s a fixed sweepstakes. Your odds don’t vary, the prize is already set. It’s like Publishers Clearinghouse, you’ve either won or you haven’t.” Unlike video poker machines, whose prize always varies, he added.
The man assigned as his successor in capturing the debated machines, isn’t so easily convinced however. Chief Mark Keel feels that the machines could potentially be the same machines, branded under a different package however. Keel is not willing to proceed though, without proof from magistrate judges, stating them as absolutely illegal, due to the cost of the operation.
Lloyd however, is adamant that no law has been broken. He added, “nobody has more respect for law enforcement than I do. I understand the position that they’re often put in. If we have to walk away and agree to disagree, hopefully we do it respectfully.” The issue of whether or not these new gambling machines are indeed the same as the video poker games that preceded them, is up to courts it would seem.