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South Carolina county, gaming boats reach deal

10 January 2008

SOUTH CAROLINA -- As reported by the Myrtle Beach Sun News: "...Horry County and two casino boat operators in Little River had been negotiating for two days straight by Tuesday afternoon on a deal that would establish a per-passenger casino boat fee, provide cash for The Coast Regional Transportation Authority and end pending litigation.

"Horry County Council was scheduled to discuss the issue at its 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday, and everyone wanted to be sure an agreement had been reached before the issue came before the council.

"They were close, casino boat officials said Wednesday as they recalled how the deal was reached. All they needed was the check.

"SunCruz Casinos and Southern Cruise Lines, formerly Diamond Casino Cruises, and the county had agreed by Tuesday afternoon on a $7 per passenger fee instead of a tax, which the council passed last year.

"The casino boats, which challenged that tax in court, also agreed to drop their lawsuits and never sue on the issue again.

"They agreed to provide a $400,000 advance on their fees to the county. That would be allocated for The Coast RTA to make up for a budget shortfall. Part of the tax passed last year was supposed to fund the bus service, but the tax was not being collected due to the lawsuit..."

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