State v. Four Video Slot Machines, No. 000063

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtCHANDLER; MOORE, J. and GEORGE T. GREGORY, Jr.; FINNEY; TOAL
Docket NumberNo. 91-11379,No. 24183,R,No. 000063,No. NONE,No. 91-11425,No. 91-11464,No. 2752,No. A06889
PartiesSTATE of South Carolina, Appellant, v. FOUR VIDEO SLOT MACHINES: (1) Serial, property of Robin Eugene Weeks, 36 Carolina Drive, Greenville, seized from Endless Challenge, 1106 North Pleasantburg, Greenville, Case; (2) Serial, property of Robin Eugene Weeks, 36 Carolina Drive, Greenville, seized from Endless Challenge, 1106 North Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville, Case; (3) Serial, property of Charles Reeves d/b/a Joytime Amusement, 1243 Laurens Road, seized from The Grapevine Lounge, 2714 Wade Hampton Boulevard, Greenville, Case; (4) Serial, property of Jim Briggs d/b/a Gem Amusement Co., seized from Bo-Nat's Grocery, 302 Poinsett Highway, Greenville, Caseespondent. . Heard
Decision Date15 March 1994

Page 896

453 S.E.2d 896
317 S.C. 397
STATE of South Carolina, Appellant,
v.
FOUR VIDEO SLOT MACHINES: (1) Serial No. 000063, property
of Robin Eugene Weeks, 36 Carolina Drive, Greenville, seized
from Endless Challenge, 1106 North Pleasantburg, Greenville,
Case No. 91-11379; (2) Serial No. 2752, property of Robin
Eugene Weeks, 36 Carolina Drive, Greenville, seized from
Endless Challenge, 1106 North Pleasantburg Drive,
Greenville, Case No. 91-11379; (3) Serial No. A06889,
property of Charles Reeves d/b/a Joytime Amusement, 1243
Laurens Road, seized from The Grapevine Lounge, 2714 Wade
Hampton Boulevard, Greenville, Case No. 91-11425; (4)
Serial No. NONE, property of Jim Briggs d/b/a Gem Amusement
Co., seized from Bo-Nat's Grocery, 302 Poinsett Highway,
Greenville, Case No. 91-11464, Respondent.
No. 24183.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard March 15, 1994.
Decided Jan. 23, 1995.
Rehearing Denied Feb. 24, 1995.

Page 897

[317 S.C. 398] Sol. Joseph J. Watson and Asst. Circuit Sol. Regan A. Pendleton, Greenville, for appellant.

Fred Thompson, III, of Scardato & Thompson, and Gedney Howe, III, Charleston, for respondent.

CHANDLER, Acting Chief Justice:

At issue in this case is whether "Lucky 8 Line" machines are exempt from the provisions of S.C.Code Ann. § 12-21-2710 (Supp.1993). 1 The Magistrate held the machines in violation of the statute and ordered their destruction. The Circuit Court reversed the Magistrate's finding and the State appeals.

We reverse.

A review of the essential facts reveals that "Lucky 8 Line" is a coin-operated machine with a video display designed to simulate a slot machine. The player inserts money and presses a button. A computer program causes the screens to roll and randomly stop, displaying words and symbols. Certain combinations of symbols earn the player an additional turn. The player has absolutely no control over the combination of words or symbols appearing on the video screen.

The applicable statute, § 12-21-2710, provides, in part:

It is unlawful for any person to keep on his premises or operate or permit to be kept on his premises or operated within this State any vending or slot machine, punch [317 S.C. 399] board, pull board, ... or other device pertaining to games of chance of whatever name or kind, ... but the provisions of this section do not extend to coin-operated nonpayout pin tables, in-line pin games, and video games with free play feature....

The statute exempts three specific types of machines: (1) coin-operated nonpayout pin tables, (2) in-line pin games or (3) video games with free play feature. The "Lucky 8 Line" machine is clearly a slot machine. State v. DeAngelis, 257 S.C. 44, 183 S.E.2d 906 (1971). In DeAngelis, we recognized that such machines, requiring no skill, were not exempted under the predecessor statute. Respondents assert that inclusion of the phrase "video games with free play feature" in the 1982 amendment to the statute, 1982 Acts No. 466, 2 now renders the "Lucky 8 Line" machines exempt. We disagree.

It is well established that, in interpreting a statute, our sole function is to determine and give effect to the intention of the legislature, with reference to the meaning of the language used and the subject matter and purpose of the statute. State v. Ramsey, --- S.C. ----, 430 S.E.2d 511 (1993). Words must be given their plain and ordinary meaning without resort to subtle or forced construction to limit or expand the statute's operation. State v. Blackmon, 304 S.C. 270, 403 S.E.2d 660 (1991).

Here, the General Assembly has declared slot machines unlawful. Respondents' construction of the statute equating the slot machines in question with a "video game with free play feature" is untenable.

Page 898

Respondents rely upon this Court's opinion in Powell v. Red...

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9 practice notes
  • In re Treatment and Care of Luckabaugh, No. 25503.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • July 22, 2002
    ...and a button is pushed. They require no skill to play. I have considered the Court's reasoning in State v. Four Video Slot Machines, 317 S.C. 397, 453 S.E.2d 896 (1995) and State v. One Coin-Operated Video Game Machine, 321 S.C. 176, 467 S.E.2d 443 (1996), as well as the 1993 amendments to ......
  • State v. 192 COIN-OP. VIDEO GAME MACH., No. 25061.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 7, 2000
    ...Video Game Machine, 321 S.C. 176, 467 S.E.2d 443 (1996)("Cherry Master" is an illegal slot machine) and State v. Four Video Slot Machines, 317 S.C. 397, 453 S.E.2d 896 (1995) ("Lucky 8 Line" is an illegal slot machine) make clear the machines in question are prohibited by the statute. Moreo......
  • SC DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE AND TAXATION v. Rosemary Coin Machines, …, No. 2840.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 4, 1998
    ...Section 12-21-2720 to be a penal statute which should be construed strictly against the State. See State v. Four Video Slot Machines, 317 S.C. 397, 453 S.E.2d 896 (1995) (a penal statute must be strictly construed against the State). First, we have decided no construction of the statute is ......
  • MARTIN v. LLOYD, Civil No. 2:06-cv-400-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • March 31, 2011
    ...video game machines with a "free play feature," but the statute was amended to cover these games. State v. Four Video Slot Machs., 453 S.E.2d 896, 896-97 (S.C. 1995); see 1999 S.C. Acts 1319-23. Section 12-21-2712 entitles an owner who has had his property seized to a post-Page 3seizure hea......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • State v. 192 COIN-OP. VIDEO GAME MACH., No. 25061.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 7, 2000
    ...Video Game Machine, 321 S.C. 176, 467 S.E.2d 443 (1996)("Cherry Master" is an illegal slot machine) and State v. Four Video Slot Machines, 317 S.C. 397, 453 S.E.2d 896 (1995) ("Lucky 8 Line" is an illegal slot machine) make clear the machines in question are prohibited by the statute. Moreo......
  • In re Treatment and Care of Luckabaugh, No. 25503.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • July 22, 2002
    ...and a button is pushed. They require no skill to play. I have considered the Court's reasoning in State v. Four Video Slot Machines, 317 S.C. 397, 453 S.E.2d 896 (1995) and State v. One Coin-Operated Video Game Machine, 321 S.C. 176, 467 S.E.2d 443 (1996), as well as the 1993 amendments to ......
  • SC DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE AND TAXATION v. Rosemary Coin Machines, …, No. 2840.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 4, 1998
    ...Section 12-21-2720 to be a penal statute which should be construed strictly against the State. See State v. Four Video Slot Machines, 317 S.C. 397, 453 S.E.2d 896 (1995) (a penal statute must be strictly construed against the State). First, we have decided no construction of the statute is ......
  • MARTIN v. LLOYD, Civil No. 2:06-cv-400-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • March 31, 2011
    ...video game machines with a "free play feature," but the statute was amended to cover these games. State v. Four Video Slot Machs., 453 S.E.2d 896, 896-97 (S.C. 1995); see 1999 S.C. Acts 1319-23. Section 12-21-2712 entitles an owner who has had his property seized to a post-Page 3seizure hea......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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