In my head (a wild and untamed wasteland of fantasy and conspiracy), I see it going down a little like this:
I’ve just limped in with JT unsuited in the small blind. I’m eying the Rotel cheese dip on the counter. The guy sitting across from me is trying to figure out if he just did a shot of tequila or absinthe. The dealer, a cocky fresh-faced guy with no more chips, has just flopped slothoki rainbow.
Something in my nether regions twinges. I suspect my eyes might dart like they did when the pretty girl in English class adjusted her skirt and showed more than she planned. I plan to finger my chips and slowplay my way to Mr. Absinthe’s stack.
It’s just about that time that the door to my house explodes into three pieces.
Welcome, if you will, the Sabbath Police.
Obviously, I wasn’t watching the clock. Saturday turned to Sunday and I just became a common criminal in the state of South Carolina.
Of course, under South Carolina law, it appears it wouldn’t matter if I were playing poker or Chutes and Ladders. Playing games on the Sabbath is illegal.
“Whoever shall…permit any game or games to be played in his house on the Sabbath day, on conviction thereof before any court having jurisdiction, shall be fined in the sum of fifty dollars, to be sued for on behalf of, and to be recovered for the use of, the State.”
While I’ve never heard of anyone getting arrested for playing games on Sunday, it is apparently against the law.
Inspired by Jeremy over at Love and Casino War, I ventured out in search of South Carolina’s gambling laws. And, folks, is it a wild ride.
* Despite the fact that the state recently began running it own lottery, lotteries are illegal. Not only that, but if you get busted for running a lottery and pay your $1000 fine, $333.33 of it goes to the narc who turned you in. That’s justice, South Carolina style.
* Buying a lottery ticket bestows upon the purchaser the title of, get this, Adventurer. He is “adventuring in lottery.” Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ll buy a Powerball ticket if the purse is high enough, but it’s never felt much like an adventure. It’s a bigger adventure trying to avoid eye contact with the porno shelves to the right of the counter (you ever wonder where somebody came up with the name SWANK for a porn mag?)
* While the South Carolina law says a lot about what you can play, what you can’t play, and where you can’t play it, it doesn’t say much about betting. I’m no attorney, but following the bouncing ball across the law, I see it as reading as such: “If any person shall play at any tavern, inn, store for the retailing of spirituous liquors or in any house used as a place of gaming, barn, kitchen, stable or other outhouse, street, highway, open wood, race field or open place at any game with cards or dice…except the games of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist when there is no betting on any such game of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist or shall bet on the sides or hands of such as do game, upon being convicted thereof, before any magistrate, shall be imprisoned for a period of not over thirty days or fined not over one hundred dollars.”
Simply put, pool, bowling, backgammon, chess, and draughts (?) are legal to play in public, as long as you don’t bet. Everything else is out. Especially if you’re playing in an outhouse.
Later the law says that anything wagered on such games is forfeited to the state. Frankly, I’d be more upset if my game of Outhouse Candyland got busted. It’s not everyday you get to play that game.
Frankly, while I knew I lived in a backward state, the laws of which border on antiquated at every turn, I didn’t suspect to face laws regarding outhouses and playing games on Sunday.
So, a notice to my local law enforcement friends: A week from Saturday, I’ll be hosting a Hold’em tourney at my house. I suspect many people will not only adventure in lottery on the way to my home, but I suspect them to play cards late into the night, and into Sunday morning. Please feel free to stop by and review South Carolina law with us sometime after midnight.
Oh, but if you use the outhouse, please make sure you close the door when you’re finished. Those are the Homeowners’ Assocation rules.