South Carolina Casino Boats Face Fee - Saturday 18th of March 2006

SOUTH CAROLINA – As reported by the Myrtle Beach Sun News: "Casino boats can keep doing business in Horry County for now but operators may be forced to pay for the privilege.

"Council members voted 8-3 Tuesday to tax the state's only two floating casinos, which both operate out of Little River. The minority voted to ban the boats after a five-year grace period.

"State law passed in June allows the county to charge up to 10 percent of boarding fees and 5 percent of gross proceeds, or eliminate the boats altogether. Despite negotiations, gaming operators and the county could not strike a deal on the fees and now the county may go for the maximum allowed.

"…SunCruz Executive Vice President Greg Karan said the company is willing to pay a boarding fee, though not as much as the county was seeking.

" 'The county asked for $7 per person and we had offered $3, remaining consistent with our original offer to the county 14 months ago,' Karan said.

"…SunCruz contends that Horry County has no right to collect the second fee allowed under law, 5 percent of gaming proceeds, because gambling is illegal in South Carolina and the boats travel outside state waters to do business.

"…Overall, the county decision not to ban the boats is a positive sign and the company is ready to continue working with the county, he said…"

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