LITTLE RIVER, S.C. - One of two casino boats operating out of Little River has stopped operations.
SunCruz Casino stopped its operations Monday.
SunCruz took passengers into international waters to gamble. SunCruz has said it employed about 200 people.
A message on the SunCruz telephone line thanks customers for their support and directs them to the Big M, Little River's other casino boat. The SunCruzCasino.com website makes no mention of the venue having ceased operations.
There was no explanation for the shutdown. But SunCruz had been involved in a legal fight with Horry County for two years over a $7 per passenger fee the county had imposed on the boat.
Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus said the county and SunCruz had been negotiating a settlement of debt. The amount the company owed the county has not been released. It's not certain the amount has been determined because county officials say they have not seen any of the boat's records on the number of passengers each night.
The fee had been imposed in 2011.
Jennifer Walters, executive director of the Little River Chamber of Commerce, said the community will be damaged by the closure.
"Any job loss is going to be impactful to the area," Walters said Tuesday. She said many of the SunCruz employees live in the Little river area.
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