The investigation into a Longs business suspected of allowing illegal gambling continues, and charges have not yet been filed against the owner and two employees, said senior solicitor Donna Elder.
Detectives with the Horry County Police Department's Narcotics and Vice division seized 24 computers from Wine and Time, 82 Cloverleaf Drive, on Tuesday following a nearly two-week investigation, said Lt. Kevin Duke.
The computers contained software which allows the user to participate in "games of chance," such as a slot machine, Duke said. The games offered cash payouts.
Elder said five patrons present during the seizure were given citations for misdemeanor unlawful gaming and betting.
They must appear before the magistrate and plead guilty or ask for a trial.
The owner and two employees hadn't yet been charged Wednesday afternoon, Elder said. The HCPD will evaluate evidence before recommending to the magistrate's office whether formal warrants should be served.
Elder expects any charges to come by the end of the week.
She said Wine and Time does have a S.C. businesslicense. It is owned by S.C. Foam LLC.
According to information from the S.C. Secretary of State's Web site, S.C. Foam LLC is in good standing and the license went into effect on Dec. 22, 2010.
The registered agent is listed as Jerry M. Wilder Sr., with the same address as Wine and Time.
A phone number found for Jerry Wilder was disconnected.
Elder said the investigation began after the police department received complaints about possible gambling at the business.
Undercover officers went to the business to gamble and were awarded money, Duke said.
The process began by the patrons receiving a plastic card and giving money to the cashier or putting it into a machine, Elder said.
The amount of money spent determined the number of points placed on the card.
The player swiped the card at one of the computer terminals, entered a password and chose a game from a number of different options, Elder said. They included not only a slot machine type of game, but also poker and blackjack.
She said patrons could keep playing as long as they fed more money.
Once finished, the number of points left on the card determined the amount of cash they'd be paid.
"It's just chance," Elder said.
Elder said Wine and Time has a permit to sell alcohol, but not for on-site consumption. There was a small section in the business where wine was kept and available for purchase.
"It wasn't [an] up-to-the-ceiling kind of rack," Elder said.
She said there were a few other trinkets in the business in addition to the wine rack and the computer terminals.
The section of the S.C. Code of Laws that deals with gambling states that any person who operates a tavern, inn or store where liquor is sold and gambling takes place can serve up to a year in prison and pay a $2,000 fine for each offense if convicted.
Any person convicted of using a machine or device for gambling purposes except the games of billiards, bowls, chess, draughts and backgammon must pay a fine not exceeding $500 and not less than $200, according to the statute.
Contact BRAD DICKERSON at 626-0301.