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Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

$400K Seized

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

In a land where illegal moonshine whiskey was once the king of contraband, the new kings on the block are the kings of clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades.

Authorities in the State of South Carolina last week raided a popular restaurant, arrested its 81-year-old owner and two employees and seized 34 illegal video poker machines and almost $400,000 in cash.

According to media reports, Charleston County deputies raided Pappy’s restaurant in Hanahan, S.C., last Thursday, in what was the culmination of a four-month undercover investigation into illegal video poker at the eatery.

Charged with gambling were Pappy’s owner Joe Williamson, 81, and Pappy’s employees Patrick Henry Roberts, 72, and June Polos, 63, the reports said.

Authorities said illegal video poker machines were also found on the premises on two previous occasions, the reports said.

South Carolina banned video poker machines seven years ago, when the state’s governor called the machines “the crack cocaine of gambling,” a phrase still uttered to this day by opponents of the devices.

Despite the seven-year ban, video poker machines remain prevalent–and popular–throughout this conservative and mostly rural Southern state that boasts of its traditional and family values.

So far in 2007, authorities in South Carolina have seized over 1,100 illegal video poker machines throughout the state.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected].)

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