Charleston City Council this week passed first reading of an ordinance setting up the zoning for mini casinos that offer access to simulated gambling websites.

The move comes as the casinos, which are billed as providing sweepstakes-styled payout games, have gained a foothold in South Carolina after the Legislature has declined to regulate them.

The ordinance prevents the casinos from operating within 1,000 feet of residential areas, churches, schools and navigable streams.

Charleston currently is operating with a temporary moratorium on allowing such sites, but wants the power to regulate them by zoning their operation into specific limited areas.

Opponents say the games are an attempt to re-establish video gambling after it was banned in South Carolina more than a decade ago.