Accused poker game dealers face tougher penalties

Charleston – Unlike the more than 50 people accused of gambling after police raided a Charleston-area poker game, the seven people accused of dealing the cards at those games face more serious charges and tougher penalties if convicted.

Sheriff Al Cannon told The (Charleston) Post and Courier that South Carolina still treats dealing as a misdemeanor, but a person convicted of the crime could spend as much as a year in jail and be fined USD 2,000 for each count.

Investigators have said the dealers earned USD 1,300 a night to deal to high-stakes players in what was described as a sophisticated gambling ring. Police also said the betting in the games sometimes went as high as thousands of dollars.

The accused players will face a magistrate on charges of gambling, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail or a USD 100 fine for each count, prosecutors said. Playing poker for money is illegal under a 200-year-old state law that prohibits dice and card games.

Among the accused players were a police officer and a deputy prosecutor, who have lost their jobs, as well as a teacher, a church deacon and a Navy lieutenant.