Horry County will vote for sweepstakes moratorium

South Carolina is still trying to figure out what to do with internet sweepstakes machines. Everyone's waiting on a decision on their legality.

In the meantime, Horry County wants to make sure it has plans in place to deal with the businesses either way.

State police came to Horry County in January, seizing internet sweepstakes machines that they say violate the state's video gambling law.

With state regulations still not set, Horry County wants to make sure it's doing the right thing.

"From a zoning perspective, from a business license perspective, we are not permitting them right now because of our understanding that they are illegal in this state," said Horry County Planning Director Janet Carter.

Carter wants to put a moratorium on new sweepstakes businesses.

The plan is to give the county up to a year to prepare for future regulations.

Horry County Councilman Gary Loftus says a temporary hold on these businesses is a good idea.

"Putting a moratorium until the courts decide seems like a reasonable thing to do. Why get people in business and then have them to have to shut down?" said Loftus.

Some say people have the wrong impression when it comes to establishments like these.

James Gunter has owned Murrells Inlet Sweepstakes in Georgetown County since 2011. He said it's just another way of providing entertainment.

"They spend a little money, their own money that they make themselves and they can go in there and spend a few hours and kind of get away and forget anything else," said Gunter.

Others have even gone as far as to argue that the businesses are good for the economy. But, Loftus doesn't buy it.

"How can it be good for the economy when you take money that someone has earned, give it to someone else and get very little back. it's good for someone's economy unfortunately not ours," he said.

It's a gamble Horry County doesn't want to take.

During the moratorium, the county will look at zoning to decide, if the state allows the machines, where the county would allow them to set up.

County council has to approve the moratorium for it to take effect.