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Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

CAPTION:
SCDOR vs. Collins Entertainment Corp.

AGENCY:
South Carolina Department of Revenue

PARTIES:
Petitioners:
South Carolina Department of Revenue

Respondents:
Collins Entertainment Corp.
 
DOCKET NUMBER:
97-ALJ-17-0779-CC

APPEARANCES:
Jeffrey M. Nelson, Attorney for Petitioner

James H. Harrison, Attorney for Respondent
 

ORDERS:

ORDER

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

This matter is before the Administrative Law Judge Division pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 12-4-30(D) (Supp. 1997) and S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600 (Supp. 1997) upon Respondent's request for a contested case hearing. South Carolina Department of Revenue ("DOR") seeks a $2,500 monetary penalty against Respondent Collins Entertainment Corp. ("Collins") for failure to attach owner identification information on a single Class III video poker machine pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 12-21-2748 (Supp. 1997). Collins concedes the violation, but maintains that the penalty DOR seeks to impose is excessive. After notice to all parties, a hearing was conducted on March 23, 1998. Based upon the evidence presented and the applicable law, the $2,500 penalty is proper. Any motions or issues raised in the proceedings, but not addressed in this Order are deemed denied pursuant to ALJD Rule 29(B).

FINDINGS OF FACT

I make the following findings of fact, taking into consideration the burden on the parties to establish their respective cases by a preponderance of the evidence, and taking into account the credibility of the witnesses:

1. All parties were given notice of the date, time and place of the hearing.

2. Collins holds several licenses for Class III video game machines.

3. Some of the licenses are in use on machines at "Britton's Neck Park & Blow," located

at the intersection of Highways 378 and 908 in Gresham, South Carolina ("Britton's Neck").

4. On March 23, 1997, SLED agents conducted an inspection of the video gaming

machines at Britton's Neck.

5. The inspection included determining whether an owner or operator identification was

displayed on the machines. SLED agents found that one of the machines at Britton's Neck did not have an owner or operator identification affixed to it.

6. On March 25, 1997, SLED issued its report finding that Collins violated S.C. Code

Ann. § 12-21-2748 by failing to affix an owner identification to one of the Class III video game

machines located at Britton's Neck.

7. On December 1, 1997, DOR issued a Final Determination on the alleged failure to

affix owner identification to one Class III video game machine at Britton's Neck.

8. A Collins employee services this machine once a week.

9. Collins has violated the owner identification statute and has been fined six times in the

following contested cases before the Administrative Law Judge Division:

Date of Violation ALJD Docket No.
September 23, 1996

December 12, 1996

January 16, 1997

January 22, 1997

March 26, 1997

April 22, 1997

97-ALJ-17-0310-CC

97-ALJ-17-0290-CC

97-ALJ-17-0443-CC

97-ALJ-17-0721-CC

97-ALJ-17-0611-CC

97-ALJ-17-0607-CC



10. By March 23, 1997, Collins had been notified of three prior violations of the owner

identification statute on one or more of his machines.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

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

1. Jurisdiction is vested with the Administrative Law Judge Division pursuant to S.C.

Code Ann. § 12-4-30(D) (Supp. 1997) and S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600 (Supp. 1997).

2. Video poker machines authorized under S.C. Code § 12-21-2720(A)(3) (Supp. 1997)

are termed Class III machines.

3. Licensed Class III video poker machines must have information identifying the owner

or operator of the machine attached on an area of the machine visible for inspection purposes. S.C.

Code Ann. § 12-21-2748 (Supp. 1997).

4. On March 23, 1997, Collins violated S.C. Code Ann. § 12-21-2748 (Supp. 1997) by

failing to have identifying information attached to one of his machines at Britton's Neck.

5. South Carolina Code Ann. § 12-21-2738 (Supp. 1997) provides for the penalty for

violation of the owner identification statute. It states, in pertinent part,

If the violation under this section relates to a machine licensed pursuant to Section 12-21-2720(A)(3), the applicable penalty amount is two thousand five hundred dollars, no part of which may be suspended.

(emphasis added).

6. Although the 1997 amendment to Section 12-21-2738 deleted the words "no part of

which may be suspended," this amendment was not effective until June 6, 1997. It is undisputed

that the violation in this case took place prior to the effective date of the 1997 amendment.

Therefore, the $2,500 penalty is mandatory in this case.

7. Even if this tribunal had the discretion to reduce the penalty amount in this case, I find

that $2,500 is an appropriate penalty due to Collins' history of identical violations.

ORDER

Based upon the foregoing Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, it is hereby ORDERED that Respondent Collins Entertainment Corp. violated the provisions of S.C. Code Ann. § 12-21-2748 (Supp. 1997) by failing to have owner or operator identification affixed to a Class III machine. Respondent is fined $2,500 payable within ten (10) days of the date of this Order.

AND IT IS SO ORDERED.

ALISON RENEE LEE

Administrative Law Judge

April 22, 1998

Columbia, South Carolina


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