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Author Topic: Court Case: Town of Mt. Pleasant v. Chimento
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Post Court Case: Town of Mt. Pleasant v. Chimento
on: January 3, 2011, 08:56

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Town of Mt. Pleasant v. Chimento

In this South Carolina case five defendants were charged with gambling under the South Carolina Code of Laws Sec. 16-19-40, which makes it a misdemeanor to play cards or dice in specified locations, including a “house used as a place of gaming.” These defendants asserted that gaming and gambling are synonymous and that it is generally recognized that the three elements necessary to find gambling are prize, chance and consideration. Extensive expert testimony was presented on the issue of poker as a game of skill.

The judge said “This Court…finds that Texas Hold-em is a game of skill. The evidence and studies are overwhelming that this is so. Town of Mt. Pleasant v. Chimento, Case No. 98045DB, Mt. Pleasant Municipal Court, South Carolina (rendered Feb. 19, 2009). (Available online at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/12654899/SC-Judges-Decision-on-MtPleasant-Poker-Case-021909)

The judge was not convinced, however, that the predominance test is the law in South Carolina. Therefore, he found “…[T]his Court will not set itself to definitively conclude that this State will or does follow the ‘Dominant Test’ Theory and thus is compelled, since it has no clear guideline from the Legislature or from the majority of the Supreme Court to find that defendants guilty of violating Code Section 16-19-40, and therefore are required to pay the fines and assessments required by such a violation.”

That conviction was appealed to the Court of Common Pleas sitting as a court of appeals, which found that the dominance test is, or likely would be, legally applicable in South Carolina, citing the dissent in a prior South Carolina case, Johnson v. Collins Entertainment Co., 333 S.C. 96,508 S.E.2d 575 (1998).

The prosecution has appealed the reversal to the South Carolina Supreme Court, which will hear oral argument on October 19, 2010.

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