"Cruise to Nowhere" from Myrtle Beach

Tuesday, September 07, 1999
Federal District Judge David Norton issued a declaratory judgment, giving Dewayne Williams, who runs LA Cruise, Inc. of Mayport, Fla., permission to operate a "cruise to nowhere" vessel out of South Carolina. Williams has expressed interest in operating a casino boat out of Murrells Inlet. Casino gambling is banned in South Carolina, but federal law permits "cruise to nowhere" gaming ships to operate in the absence of a state law specifically prohibiting them. Norton pointed out in his ruling, the only way the state could prevent "cruises to nowhere" from taking passengers into international waters (three miles offshore) to gamble, would be to pass a law specifically forbidding such activity. A general ban on casino gambling is not sufficient. On November 3, under cover of darkness, Williams nudged Victori into a Murrells Inlet boat slip, outmaneuvering local resides who had threatened to block the harbor with their boats to prevent his from docking. However, Williams found the boat was too large to safely navigate the shallow waters, so it was subsequently moved to Little River, north of Myrtle Beach. Republican Rep. Mark Kelley stated, "The boat will be illegal by February. I couldn't name three legislators who support that boat."

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