One of the Grand Strand’s two casino boats, and one of only a handful that operate in South Carolina, has shut down.
Calls to the SunCruz business line get a recorded message. “As of today, July 28, 2014, Jacks or Better SunCruz Casinos has ceased all operations.” The voice then directs anyone still interested in playing to visit Little River’s other casino boat “Big M.” There was no explanation for the shutdown. Roughly 200 employees worked for the business, according to the Little River Chamber of Commerce.
Casino boats legally get around South Carolina’s gambling ban by sailing off the coast and into international waters.
The closure came as a bit of a surprise. WPDE-TV reported Tuesday the vessel was apparently operating as late as Sunday, with a message posted to its Facebook page promoting a Sunday cruise. A calendar on the company’s website still shows events for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in July.
But SunCruz had been involved in a legal fight with Horry County for the past two years over a $7 per passenger fee the county had imposed on the boat.
Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus told the Associated Press that the county had been negotiating a settlement of debt with SunCruz. The county and casino had not agreed on how much the company owed for its passengers.