House approves bill saying machines are illegal, closing loopholes

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The South Carolina House has approved a bill that supporters say clarifies that sweepstakes machines are illegal video gambling.

The measure approved Wednesday is meant to close loopholes that business owners cite to operate so-called sweepstakes cafes. Another vote would send it to the governor. The Senate passed it in January.

The vote comes a week after 50 people were arrested in South Carolina and other states as part of an investigation into a Florida-based charity accused of running gambling parlors with computer slot-machine-style games. Investigators say the group's executives gave little to veterans and lavished millions on themselves.

Attorneys say the group ran legal sweepstakes, much like contests sponsored by fast-food restaurants or retailers.

That's the same argument used by supporters of sweepstakes cafes in South Carolina.


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