SW Legal Educational Publishing

Forfeiture of Video Gaming Machines Not Taking of Property
Description The South Carolina high court upheld a state law declaring all video gaming machines to be illegal as of a certain date. The property became contraband that could be seized by the state at that time. The state has a legitimate interest in regulating gambling and in not destroying all economic value of the land on which the machines sit.
Topic Real Property
Key Words Eminent Domain; Forfeiture; Contraband; Due Process
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts A law passed by the South Carolina legislature declared that video gaming machines would become illegal as of July 1, 2000, and banned possession of these machines. Under the statute, the machines would become contraband subject to forfeiture and destruction by the state. Owners of the machines sued to contest the legality of the statute. The case went directly to the state supreme court.
Decision Forfeiture of the video gaming machines did not effect a taking of real property, as the forfeiture advanced a legitimate governmental interest in prohibiting illegal gambling. Forfeiture did not deny the owners or lessees of businesses that contained the machines of all economically viable use of their land. There is no compensable regulatory taking, as this is a highly regulated field that the property owners knew was subject to such action.
Citation Westside Quik Shop, Inc. v. Stewart, 2000 WL 823346 (Slip Copy, Sup. Ct., S.C., 2000)

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