Gambling is illegal in a bunch of places; Las Vegas and Atlantic City are viewed by many as dens of iniquity. The riverboat casinos in the south are viewed as more of an ‘experience,’ and somehow the states where illegal gaming goes on within the borders of the state on “native land” is somehow okay. The hypocrisy in American law is antiquated and many states need to get with the 21st Century. South Carolina; the place I call my home for now, is one of these places. While I’m the first one to concede to my dad (who LOVES South Carolina) that the living is pretty easy and relatively cheap; I will be damned if the police or other law enforcement task forces think they’re going to haul me off to jail if I’m playing Yahtzee or Pinochle in my home.
South Carolina Gaming Hypocrisy: Intro:
I was driving home from work this morning listening to local conservative AM-drive jock Richard Todd (1) talking about this story which ran over the weekend in the local Charleston area newspaper, The Post & Courier (2), about Tina Radding. Tina Radding is a lovely looking elderly widow who runs the Low Country Bridge & Education Center in West Ashley South Carolina. Todd was furious that this story ran in The Post & Courier Newspaper because playing Bridge (the card game; that this old lady is teaching) is illegal in South Carolina. “It goes back to the 1802 law!” he exclaimed a number of times. Really Richard? Still holding onto those founding laws before folks in the Low Country had things like running water or electricity?
South Carolina Gaming Hypocrisy: Richard Todd’s Aftermath:
Through his excited delivery of this story I couldn’t tell if Richard Todd was more excited that the story (promoting illegal activity?) ran in his God-fearing Christian subscription newspaper or if AM morning drive jock Richard Todd was excited that he’d be able to report back in a matter of days about the SC Undercover SWAT unit that went into this perfectly harmless old ladies classes and how they dismantled her whole enterprise. Shutting them down and forever quelling the illegal practice of card playing in South Carolina. I think it was the latter.
South Carolina Gaming Hypocrisy: Section 16-19-40 of the SC Penal Code:
Apparently this whole illegal gaming thing is not all that dead a subject. Just as recently in 2009 at a private game of Texas Hold’em (3), South Carolina police shut down this home game based on Section 16-19-40 of the South Carolina Penal Code. Section 16-19-40 of the SC Penal Code states that the playing of “any game with cards or dice” while “in any house used as a place of gaming” is just not allowed. “But I thought this was at a private house?” Well, that’s right. That’s right; the game in question was played in a private house. The Catch-22 to this episode was that because the participants were playing Texas Hold’em in a residence that automatically makes that structure a “house used as a place of gaming.” I kid you not. So by that ruling that would indicate that any game using cards or dice played in any four-walled, roofed structure would be illegal. Watch out there Monopoly players; get ye to a computer Solitaire players; if you’ve got the cards and you’re in a house; you’re going down! Taken another step further Section 16-19-40 (4) has a section which states gaming with dice or cards is illegal in your “barn, kitchen, stable or other outhouse, street, highway, open wood, race field or open place…” – so you can’t even head back to the barn with the crew. However Section 16-19-40 does choose which games are okay for your playing; these are “the games of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist when there is no betting on any such game of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist.” Can we say ‘nanny-state’?
South Carolina Gaming Hypocrisy: Conclusion:
This strange attitude towards gambling is not unique to South Carolina but the fact that there’s a 200 year old law on the books in South Carolina stating that playing games with dice or cards anywhere is a crime needs to be changed. The fact that a 21st Century AM-drive jock could so quickly recall these antiquated laws says something about the way children are raised in South Carolina.
Don’t even get me started on the rules on the books talking about playing any games on the Sabbath…church-and-state, peh!