The Southern Elegance Casino Cruises (Now replaced with Diamond Girl 2 ship with casino - can be found 35 miles north of Myrtle Beach. It is a 401- passenger ship that sails from Little River Waterfront. They offer free deli food for gamblers over 55 years old, no port charges and parking fees, senior citizen discounts, and free shuttle available from Myrtle Beach. The allowed gambling age is 21, and anyone below that age will not be allowed to board. Aside from regular games, they also have Aces Poker and Let it Ride machines.
The SunCruz Casino also located 35 miles north of Myrtle Beach, is slightly more expensive than the Southern Elegance Casino Cruises. Lunch and dinner buffets are at $5 and $7 respectively, and the allowable gambling age is 18 years. Though parking is free, port charges is at $10. This 600-seater ship also sails from Little River Waterfront. Making reservations are recommended as it can be hard to get in during peak seasons.
South Carolina Casinos & Gambling
There are only two casino boats in South Carolina, but the issues they raised between the district’s counties may be equated with the fated luxury cruise ship, the Titanic! These gambling boats sail three miles out into the international waters, the only place where they are permitted to dock in order to allow gambling. Legislators have been fighting tooth to nail regarding the pros and cons of maintaining them within their territory. Like with similiar cases in other states, in simplistic terms, while some lawmakers think that these casino vessels are profitable engines for growth, others who lean more towards the moralistic angle and want them permanently banned.
Sun Cruz Casino - Myrtle Beach Diamond Girl Two - Little River
While gambling machines enjoy quite a high popularity other gambling states and districts such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, it is the opposite in South Carolina, where video poker is long gone. Their decision to eliminate these “one-armed bandits” was based on information that the 33,000 video poker machines that used to be in their state “robbed” $2.7 billion from the players in one year alone. To date, the State Law Enforcement Division has seized a total of 3,400 illegal gambling machines from several gambling operators.
The fight against illegal gambling has expanded from land to water, as several South Carolina lawmakers have proposed a bill that will ban all casino gaming vessels from the state. However, the most recent developments have turned this battle into an “each man for his own” scenario as the state approved local regulation of the gambling operations. Speculation arose that South Carolina Governor, Mark Sanford, was averse to directly passing legislation banning casino boats, explaining why he handed down the responsibility on to the individual counties.
Georgetown county is hopeful that the new state law will help them keep their waters “casino cruise ship-free”, while Horry County is hopeful that the amendment in legislation will help them collect increased boarding fees from casinos and boats, being the only county in the state of South Carolina with active casino boats which are experiencing suspension during the course of the current hearing. Both counties are carefully analyzing the statute that they will implement in their districts, to serve what they deem to be for the best interest of their residents. Another county ordinance specifically directed casino cruise ships to refrain from within 1,000 feet of churches, schools, and day-care centers and limit their operating hours. They were also ordered not to create excessive noise after 10 pm.
According to the revised version of the 'boat bill', in the event that Horry County decides to ban the two casino boats in Little River, the casino ships will be granted five years to phase out to give enough time for the workers to recover and find a new livelihood. Since the boats are legal under federal law unless there is enacted legislation that will ban it, the two existing casino boats in Little River are legally operating and giving its financial obligations to the state. Apparently, attempts to ban have been unfruitful because lawmakers are afraid that such laws might ban ordinary cruise ships that merely have gambling rooms.
Meanwhile, an ordinance to ban gambling vessels in Georgetown County was passed after only the second reading. The law has a striking resemblance with the original state law that prohibits casino cruise ships from entering their territorial waters.
The issue of gambling entails morality, and where morality is concerned, religious organizations usually come into the picture. For example, recently, the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the largest faith-based association in South Carolina, was said to be getting directly involved in fighting illegal gambling, helping SLED to find illegal video gaming machines. However, this report was immediately countered by the spokesperson of South Carolina Baptist Church Convention, saying that while their organization is strongly against gambling and supports law enforcement, they are not lawfully obligated to enforce the ban. Furthermore, they stated that they will merely be reporting illegal video machines that they spot to the Convention’s offices, which in turn will forward the information to the authorities.
The debates regarding gambling cruise ships might be resolved, but there yet again another video gambling battleground aimed at the state of North Carolina. Internet sweepstakes has been the new “in thing" in North Carolina gaming as it becomes the next target of the State Law Enforcement Division in the state’s efforts to curb illegal video gaming industry. SLED recently confiscated a number of sweepstakes terminals and other equipment used in illegal betting from three York County gambling operators. The terminals being used in such operations are computers connected to the internet. In their defense, lawyers of the Internet sweepstake companies insist the legality of their client’s operations as payments weren’t required to play. This makes the game a kind of sweepstakes, and not a lottery- which is illegal.
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