As of April 3, 2007, a decision announced by the Horry County Council has the operators of the 2 Little River casino boats still in shock. At the meeting, which aimed to review ways to impose taxes on the riverboat gambling casinos when out of the blue, the members of the Horry County Council suddenly decided not to allow riverboat casinos in the area.
The council member who proposed the banning of the riverboat casinos said that he is really trying to save the riverboat casinos but that line of reasoning cannot be understood by the owners who are still in shock about the surprise announcement.
The Chairman of Sun Cruz said that the riverboat casino operators have been talking with the Horry County Council for about 2 years now regarding the taxes and the boarding fees of the riverboat casinos in the area. He added that the riverboat casino operators have made plans which are acceptable to everybody and have good sense.
A member of the Horry County Council, Councilman Harold Worley, proposed to modify the proposal and ban the riverboat casinos in the area. The amendment was ratified by the council. However, Weisberg said that the decision felt like a slap in their faces and it will cost the industry and the county millions of dollars and great damage to the economic health of the county.
Worley said that he is not against the riverboat casinos and can be considered pro-riverboat casino in the area. Worley added that he proposed the banning of the riverboat casinos in order to save it. He claims that the state approved the law back in 2007 to give the counties 2 choices – either ban the riverboats or impose taxes on riverboats which are equal to 5% of the gross bets and about 10% of the boarding costs.
Worley added that the agreement between the riverboat casinos and Horry County Council Chairman, Liz Gilland, was a separate agreement from that of the state law and had it been approved, it would have closed down the riverboat casinos.
Worley said that he is open to modifying the proposal so that the riverboat casinos can operate on Little River under the state law. Weisberg said that he has to reevaluate whether he wants to remain in Little River. The Horry County Council will hold a public hearing regarding the banning of the riverboat casinos. The final vote will be held next month.
24 June, 2007