Casino boat gets reality show, still owes county $500,000

A Little River business is about to be the focus of a reality television show, but it's also being sued by Horry County.

Even though the county spokesperson Lisa Bourcier says the Sun Cruz/Aquasino casino boat owes the county more than $500,000, casino boat partner Robert Weisberg still plans to keep sailing.

"We're very very excited," said Weisberg. "They are going to produce it and present it at a convention of these shows in May to sell it to the networks."

April 14th and 15th, producers of the popular reality show, Pawn Stars, will shoot a pilot showing what life is like on a casino boat.

A TV show would increase tourism for the Grand Strand, said Weisberg.

"These reality shows have a lot of buzz to them. They produce a lot of merchandize sales, a lot of tourism."

In 2010, Sun Cruz signed an agreement that the casino would stay in business as long as it pays Horry County a $7 fee for each boat passenger.

Last year, Sun Cruz stopped paying.

"We're very very unhappy and I think everyone out there knows," said Weisberg. "Just by going up and down the Grand Strand, you can start the amount of illegal gambling that is going on."

Weisberg said, sweepstakes are the main reason the business is battling the lawsuit with the county. He considers the sweepstakes machines gambling, but sweepstakes businesses don't have to pay the admission fee.

Weisberg said if the county doesn't force those businesses to pay, his casino is not paying either.

"The excuse that they are giving is completely separate than what the agreement was," said Horry County spokesperson Lisa Bourcier. "Usually an agreement is between two parties, and if you want to change that agreement, it is up to both parties to agree to those changes. That did not happen and one party decided not to live up to their end of the deal, and that's where we are in a debate with them now."

Bourcier said Sun Cruz is breaching its contract.

"We do have another casino boat that has the exact same agreement. It was done with both parties and they are sticking to their agreement and sticking to their agreement and paying those funds," said Bourcier.

Weisberg said the county and his business plan to meet sometime next week to discuss a new agreement.

In the meantime, Sun Cruz and it's reality show will keep chugging along.

This weekend the casino boat will hold a slot machine and poker tournament to promote the reality show.