BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC -- County sheriffs here staged a series of raids on sweepstakes videogame locations in various towns here from June through October.
Targeted municipalities within the county included Beaufort in June, Port Royal in July, Bluffton on Sept. 27 and Hardeeville on Oct. 26. In the two most recent raids, police seized 24 computers from each location. | SEE STORY
Local sources said three of the targeted locations have now been shut down and that seized equipment has been turned over to the state law enforcement authority SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division) for adjudication.
Reportedly all the raided venues featured devices manufactured by Hest Technologies of Haltom City, TX.
Substantial proceeds from some of the raided sites, up to tens of thousands of dollars a month, went to benefit Skyeward Bound Ranch for disabled and autistic children, according to Skyeward executives and Hest officials. Skyeward is an officially state-registered charity in South Carolina.
Hest president Chris Canard said operation of the company's sweepstakes machines in South Carolina conformed to all state laws and did not constitute gambling as defined by relevant statutes.
No charges had been filed against Hest in the matter as of late October. Local media said could not get a comment from SLED explaining the delay.
Founded 14 years ago, Hest is a privately held company and employs about 60 people. The company maintains a sales office in Richland Hills, TX.