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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

SCDOR vs. Nolan P. Snelling, Tripp's Amusement Co.

South Carolina Department of Revenue

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Nolan P. Snelling, Tripp's Amusement Co.

For the Petitioner: Carol I. McMahan, Esquire

For the Respondent: Zoe Nettles Sanders, Esquire




This matter comes before me upon Respondents' request for a hearing after being cited for violating the Video Game Machines Act, specifically, S.C. Code Ann. § 12-21-2804 (A)(Supp. 1997). The South Carolina Department of Revenue (Department) contends that Respondents operated machines licensed pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. Section 12-21-2720(A)(3) (Supp. 1997) (commonly referred to as "Class III" machines and licenses) in violation of Section 12-21-2804(A). A hearing was held before the Administrative Law Judge Division March 25, 1998.


Having observed the witnesses and exhibits presented at the hearing and closely passed upon their credibility, taking into consideration the burden of persuasion by the Parties, I make the following Findings of Fact by a preponderance of evidence:

1. Notice of the time, date, place and subject matter of the Hearing was given to the Department and the Respondents.

2. On February 11, 1997, Special Agent Pope of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division ("SLED"), inspected the video gaming establishment Bud's Place located at 4390 McConnells Highway, Rock Hill, South Carolina. The game rooms were operated by Nolan P. Snelling. After the inspection Agent Pope issued a violation report charging the Respondents with operating Bud's Place in violation of S.C. Code Regs. § 117-190 (Supp. 1996) by not having "at least one separate employee on the premises during business hours" and for failing to have a separate retail sales license.

3. The Respondents' location had two video game rooms. One room (Room 1) contained a three-station blackjack and two stand-alone video poker machines. The other room (Room 2) contained three separate video poker machines. The two video poker rooms were not separated by a commons area and there was only one employee present at the time of the inspection. [The one employee at the location was not on the premises of either of the two video poker rooms.]

4. The location owner and licensee, Mr. Nolan Snelling, did not at any time during the course of the inspection indicate any of the rooms were closed for business.

5. Mr. Snelling testified the room containing the three-station blackjack machine was closed on the day of the inspection. Mr. Snelling also testified that the blackjack machine was in pieces on the floor. I find that the room containing the three-station blackjack machine was open on the day of the inspection. Furthermore, the blackjack machine was completely assembled and, in fact, was plugged in. However, though the above inaccuracies in the Petitioner's sworn testimony certainly leads to suspicion that a violation of the Video Games Machine Act may have occurred in this case, the evidence does not establish that the blackjack machine was on at the time of the inspection. The other two stand-alone video poker machines in Room 1 were on and operational, as were the three stand-alone video poker machines in Room 2. Therefore, the evidence established only that five machines were on and operational at the time of the Department's inspection.


Based upon the above Findings of Fact, I conclude as a matter of law, the following:

1. The Administrative Law Judge Division has jurisdiction to hear this matter pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 12-4-30 (D) (Supp. 1996) and S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-320 (Supp. 1996).

2. The Department contends that the Respondents violated S.C. Code Ann. § 12-21-2804(A)(Supp. 1996). That section provides:

After July 1, 1994, the commission [Department] may not issue nor authorize to be maintained any licenses or permits for more than five machines authorized under Section 12-21-2720(A)(3) at a single place or premises.


Based upon the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, it is hereby:

ORDERED that the violations issued against the Respondents are hereby dismissed.



Ralph King Anderson, III

Administrative Law Judge

Columbia, South Carolina

July 22, 1998

Brown Bldg.






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