The following are American jurisdictions having recent activity concerning legal gambling.
* – States and territories with gaming devices are marked with an asterisk: *
! – States with at least one casino (defined as having both banking card games and slot-like machines) are marked with an exclamation point: !
PENNSYLVANIA – The Legislature has the power to legalize riverboat casinos or slots at tracks, but politically it has to be approved by the voters, as new Gov. Mark Schweiker made clear, when he took office in 2001. Bills are pending to allow up to 2,000 slots at each of the state’s four racetracks.
* RHODE ISLAND – Lincoln Greyhound Park will probably soon have coin-drop slots, which eliminates the final distinction between “VLTs” and slot machines. The state runs 1,628 VLTs at Newport Grand Jai Alai and Lincoln. The Lottery Commission voted 5-4 to give them 850 more, to compete with Connecticut’s tribal casinos. Lincoln alone will soon have 1,550. In July 2000, the State Supreme Court overruled Gov. Almond’s Casino Malaysia objections, finding the Legislature could delegate its power to a commission. The Lottery Commission will meet in Nov. 2001 to consider the addition of 1,825 video-slot machines to the two sites. A heated dispute over a potential (non-IGRA) Indian casino is raging. Sen. Chaffee pushed a bill through the U.S. Senate requiring statewide voter approval, but the Legislature seems opposed to putting it on the ballot. In June 1999, the Narragansett Tribe won 2 to 1 in economically depressed West Warwick.
SOUTH CAROLINA – The state’s 14 year experiment with video poker ended at 12:01 a.m. on July 1, 2000. A month later, the State Supreme Court held a law preventing the now nonexistent slot machines from advertising was unconstitutional. At its height, South Carolina had 34,000 devices (Nevada has only 17,922 slots outside of casinos) and attracted more than $2.1 billion in wagers, for $610 million profits. Voters in 30 of 46 counties approved cash payouts in 1996. The Legislature had passed a bill closing down the slots unless approved at a Nov. 1999 referendum. In Oct. 2000, the State Supreme Court threw out the referendum but upheld the shutdown. A judge ruled that it is now illegal to manufacture slot machines chassis in the state. In July 1999, the U.S. 4th Circuit ruled state laws apply to cruises-to-nowhere. In summer 2001, the State Supreme Court ruled casino cruises legal, but Atty.Gen. Charlie Condon issued opinions that slots used legally on casino boats violate state law when stored on South Carolina soil or used on it rivers. Bills to kill the casino ships have passed the House but get killed in the Senate. Even local laws apply. In Sept. 2001, Horry County Council supervisors rejected a proposal that would have put a one-year moratorium on new casino boat launching points or support facilities. Jim Hodges beat Republican incumbent Gov. David Beasley in Nov. 1998, by supporting a State Lottery and by not opposing video poker. In Nov. 2000, voters approved amending the constitution to allow a State Lottery, but the Legislature did not pass an enabling law until Sept. 2001.