State v. One Coin-Operated Video Game Mach., COIN-OPERATED

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtTOAL; FINNEY, C.J., MOORE and BURNETT, JJ., and GEORGE T. GREGORY, Jr.
Citation467 S.E.2d 443,321 S.C. 176
PartiesSTATE of South Carolina, Appellant, v. ONEVIDEO GAME MACHINE, said machine bearing Serial, being the property of McColl Music, Inc., and having been seized from the Stockyard Grill, 220 Tyson Avenue, Bennettsville, S.C., Respondent. . Heard
Decision Date07 December 1995
Docket NumberNo. 1145,No. 24374,COIN-OPERATED

Page 443

467 S.E.2d 443
321 S.C. 176
STATE of South Carolina, Appellant,
v.
ONE COIN-OPERATED VIDEO GAME MACHINE, said machine bearing
Serial No. 1145, being the property of McColl Music, Inc.,
and having been seized from the Stockyard Grill, 220 Tyson
Avenue, Bennettsville, S.C., Respondent.
No. 24374.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard Dec. 7, 1995.
Decided Feb. 20, 1996.
Rehearing Denied March 21, 1996.

Attorney General Charles Molony Condon, Deputy Attorney General Treva G. Ashworth, Senior Assistant Attorney General Nathan Kaminski, Jr., Assistant Attorney General Cameron B. Littlejohn, Jr., Columbia; and Solicitor C. Gordon McBride, of Darlington, for Appellant.

John C. Lindsay, Jr., of Lindsay & Lindsay, Bennettsville; Henry Hammer, Columbia, for Respondent.

TOAL, Justice:

This case concerns the impact of the Video Game Machines Act ("VGMA"), S.C.Code Ann. §§ 12-21-2770 to -2808 (Supp.1994), on the prohibition on slot machines contained in S.C.Code Ann. § 12-21-2710 (Supp.1994). The Circuit Court determined that possession of the video machine in issue here was not prohibited. We reverse.

FACTUAL/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In early 1995, the sheriff of Marlboro County seized the machine at issue in this action ("the Cherry Master") from the Stockyard Grill, a business establishment in Bennettsville, South Carolina. The sheriff seized the Cherry Master because he considered it an illegal device under S.C.Code Ann. § 12-21-2710, as interpreted by this Court in State v. Four Video Slot Machines, 317 S.C. 397, 453 S.E.2d 896 (1995).

[321 S.C. 178] As acknowledged by the parties, the Cherry Master is extremely similar to the illegal devices ("Lucky 8 Lines") seized in Four Video Slot Machines. Like the Lucky 8 Lines, the Cherry Master is a coin-operated video machine in which the player inserts money and presses a button. The video screen displays images that rotate in separate independent vertical lines, slow, and then stop. If a combination of images matches horizontally, vertically, or, in some cases, diagonally, the operator can be credited with free replays. The Cherry Master also has one or more "skill stop" buttons that permit the player to control the length of time the images rotate before stopping.

Notwithstanding the similarity of the Cherry Master to the Lucky 8 Lines held unlawful in Four Video Slot Machines, the owner of the Cherry Master, McColl Music, Inc., challenged the seizure before a Marlboro County magistrate. McColl asserted that in Four Video Slot Machines, the Supreme Court had not considered the impact of the VGMA on the question of the legality of machines like the Cherry Master. Specifically, McColl asserted that the extensive licensing and regulatory scheme of the VGMA evinces a legislative intent that all coin-operated nonpayout video game machines with free play features be legal in South Carolina. The magistrate agreed, granting McColl's motion to set aside the seizure and dismiss the action with prejudice. On appeal, the circuit court affirmed the magistrate's order.

The State appeals.

LAW/ANALYSIS

The State argues that the circuit court erred in finding that the VGMA evinces a legislative intent that machines like the Cherry Master be legal. We agree.

In Four Video Slot Machines, this Court held that video "slot" machines are illegal under S.C.Code Ann. § 12-21-2710. McColl asserts that when the VGMA is considered, it becomes clear that the General Assembly

Page 445

intended to legalize coin-operated nonpayout video game machines like the Cherry Master.

The VGMA is codified at S.C.Code Ann. §§ 12-21-2770 to -2808, and comprises Article 20 of Title 12 of the South Carolina Code. It regulates video game "machines," defined as

[321 S.C. 179] an electronic video games machine that, upon insertion of cash, is available to play or simulate the play of games as authorized by the commission utilizing a video display and microprocessors in which the player may receive free games or credits that can be redeemed for cash.

S.C.Code Ann. § 12-21-2772(5). The VGMA sets certain mechanical requirements for such machines, as well as requirements...

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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
    ...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 Title 1-2 of the South Carolina Code concerning video games. I find and conclude that......
  • State v. 192 COIN-OP. VIDEO GAME MACH., No. 25061.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 7, 2000
    ...chance. South Carolina Code Ann. § 12-21-2710 (Supp.1998). This Court's recent decisions in State v. One Coin-Operated 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 (199......
  • Joseph v. S.C. Dep't of Labor, Appellate Case No. 2014–001115
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 14, 2016
    ...is evidence the Legislature agrees with this Court's interpretation” of the statute); State v. One Coin–Operated Video Game Mach. , 321 S.C. 176, 181, 467 S.E.2d 443, 446 (1996) (“Moreover, our adherence to stare decisis in this case does not implicate the risk of the ‘petrifying rigidity’ ......
  • State v. Gordon, No. 25737.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • October 20, 2003
    ...decisis exists to `insure a quality of justice which results from certainty and stability.'" State v. One Coin-Operated Video Game Mach., 321 S.C. 176, 181, 467 S.E.2d 443, 446 (1996) (internal citations omitted). 356 S.C. 156 Prosecutors, those charged with crimes, and the general public a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • In re Treatment and Care of Luckabaugh, No. 25503.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • July 22, 2002
    ...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 Title 1-2 of the South Carolina Code concerning video games. I find and conclude that......
  • State v. 192 COIN-OP. VIDEO GAME MACH., No. 25061.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 7, 2000
    ...chance. South Carolina Code Ann. § 12-21-2710 (Supp.1998). This Court's recent decisions in State v. One Coin-Operated 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 (199......
  • Joseph v. S.C. Dep't of Labor, Appellate Case No. 2014–001115
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 14, 2016
    ...is evidence the Legislature agrees with this Court's interpretation” of the statute); State v. One Coin–Operated Video Game Mach. , 321 S.C. 176, 181, 467 S.E.2d 443, 446 (1996) (“Moreover, our adherence to stare decisis in this case does not implicate the risk of the ‘petrifying rigidity’ ......
  • State v. Gordon, No. 25737.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • October 20, 2003
    ...decisis exists to `insure a quality of justice which results from certainty and stability.'" State v. One Coin-Operated Video Game Mach., 321 S.C. 176, 181, 467 S.E.2d 443, 446 (1996) (internal citations omitted). 356 S.C. 156 Prosecutors, those charged with crimes, and the general public a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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