After 20 months, kitchen table poker case still not settled
Video sweepstakes isn’t the only questionable game state officials have opted not to tackle in a timely fashion.
Some 20 months have passed since the state’s “kitchen table” poker case was argued in front of the S.C. Supreme Court, and the justices have yet to rule whether home games are legal or not.
The case stems from an April 2006 raid by Mount Pleasant police on a private Glencoe Street residence where numerous Texas Hold ’em tables were set up for players, some of whom were recruited through the Internet.
At the time of the raid, police considered the site a gambling house fueled by constant foot-traffic and car-clogged streets. About two dozen players were arrested and a quantity of drugs was found.
Five of the players cited appealed their convictions. Months later, their position was upheld in Circuit Court when a judge ruled “Hold ’em” is more a game of skill, not of chance. Circuit Judge Markley Dennis also called the state’s anti-gambling laws “unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.”
The office of then-Attorney General Henry McMaster appealed, leading to a Supreme Court concession from an assistant state attorney that casual games of low-stakes poker among friends do not violate the state’s anti-gambling laws.
The move was seen as a step back from the long-held assertion that betting on any game of chance is considered outlawed.
In the months since the Mount Pleasant case was heard by the high court, news-making incidents of poker game arrests, or interdiction by police authorities, have been few.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551,