Richland County Councilman Damon Jeter is a registered lobbyist for a gaming company, but Jeter said his role does not constitute a conflict of interest in the current debate about what to do about Internet sweepstakes cafes.
Jeter lists Magic Minutes LLC as one of his clients on his registration with the S.C. Ethics Commission. He reported that he follows sweepstakes games on behalf of his client, a vending machine company that sells long-distance air minutes, according to this report in The State.
The state ethics commission apparently is OK with it, so long as Magic Minutes does not have any of its machines inside any sweepstakes facilities seeking a business license in the county, the paper reported.
At the cafes, customers typically buy phone cards or Internet usage time and are given entries into sweepstakes in exchange for those purchases. The sweepstakes give them chances to win prizes.
A representative for Magic Minutes told the paper the company does not currently deal with sweepstakes cafes, and currently placed their machines in convenience stores.
In terms of his lobbying activity and his duties on Council, Jeter told the paper that "it's really not an issue."
During a discussion on the centers at Tuesday's Council meeting, Jeter was the most vocal and critical of efforts to impede their business. At one point he denied that such cafes were illegal despite legal opinions to the contrary.
At the meeting, Jeter voted against a proposed 30-day moratorium on approving business licenses for six sweepstakes cafes currently seeking them. The proposal died on a 5-6 vote of the Council.