South Carolina Lottery Legality in Question

South Carolina Lottery Legality in Question



Retailers in South Carolina who offer electronic sweepstakes to their customers are starting to feel jittery.

This is revealed by a member of the S.C. Education Lottery Oversight Committee, a panel that is composed of state lawmakers and members of the public.

Alexander Shadwick, a member of the committee, after Tuesday’s meeting said, “The question is, are electronic sweepstakes legal in South Carolina?” They don’t know if the games are legal or illegal, so the courts have to decide.

But it scares all the retailers,” he added.

Shadwick compared the activity to utilizing coupons or putting in $20 and buying songs on iTunes while also being entered in a contest.

The State newspaper this month quoted the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division chief announcing their renewed effort in combating illegal video poker games. The industry was outlawed in 2000 but oftentimes arises in legislative debates about slackening the restrictions of the state on raffles.

Paula Harper Bethea, the S.C. Education Lottery executive director, during the committee meeting Tuesday, shied away from the implication that she was targeting “sweepstakes” in a notice she issued to retailers.

She said, “I’ve heard the whole sweepstakes-game talk, frontwards, backwards, and that’s not for me to decide.”

“A magistrate in South Caroline ultimately has to decide that. … What I do enforce, however, is who sells our lottery products,” said Bethea.

She also revealed that she has been working with Georgia and North Carolina lottery officials on how to address the effects caused by Internet gaming on lottery programs being run by the state.