South Carolina upholds some of the most stringent gambling laws across the nation – the Palmetto State has upheld a ban on almost all forms of gambling since it was granted statehood in 1788. Although attempts to expand the state’s gambling industry have been unsuccessful in the past, the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) has created an opportunity for South Carolina to expand its gambling offering. With this in mind, let’s take a look at where South Carolina currently stands on the legalization of sports betting.

Is it legal to bet on sports in South Carolina?

No, it is illegal to wager on professional and amateur sporting events in South Carolina. The same goes for horse race betting in South Carolina. There are no horse racing tracks, dog racing tracks, off-track betting parlors or pari-mutuel wagering facilities in the Palmetto State.

Although sports betting is illegal, that hasn’t stopped lawmakers from introducing legislation to legalize the activity. In December 2018, lawmakers prefiled several joint resolutions that revolve around legalizing sports betting. House Joint Resolution 3409 and Senate Joint Resolution 57 would both amend the state’s constitution to permit betting on the outcome of sporting events in the state. Another proposal, Senate Joint Resolution 71, would create a “gambling study committee” to investigate the benefits and drawbacks of legalizing and implementing sports betting.

The three pieces of legislation were prefiled in December 2018, and on 8 January 2019 all three were referred to a committee for consideration. Since then, no action has been taken, which doesn’t bode well for the proposed legislation.

Where will I be able to place bets on sporting events in South Carolina?

The proposed amendments to the constitution do not specify where residents will be able to bet on sports.

What sports will I be able to bet on?

If the state does legalize sports betting, South Carolinians will be able to wager on the outcome of professional sporting events such as football, basketball and baseball. The proposed

legislation does not contain any provisions for betting on college sports.

What else can I bet on in South Carolina?

Due to the restrictive laws in place, there are very few legal gambling options available in the state. Residents in the state can participate in the South Carolina Education Lottery, which offers a variety of games, including Powerball and inter-state draws. Charitable gambling is also legal but heavily restricted in the state. However, an alternative option for South Carolina residents comes in the form of slot machine gambling venues, located on luxury yachts and cruise ships only.

As an alternative to sports betting and online gambling, residents can participate in daily fantasy sports games offered by companies such as FanDuel and DraftKings.

South Carolina does not currently permit land-based casino gambling, poker, social gambling or online gambling. This stems from the state’s outdated laws that were written more than 200 years ago and have yet to be updated. On top of this, South Carolina is home to several anti-gambling politicians, including Senator Lindsey Graham. Graham is vocal in his opposition to gambling and in 2014 he introduced legislation that would place a federal ban on all online gambling.

Are offshore gambling sites legal in South Carolina?

Much like online gambling sites, offshore gambling sites are illegal in South Carolina. Aside from legality, we suggest avoiding offshore sportsbooks because these sites are not regulated and do not hold a license to serve customers in South Carolina.

As they aren’t regulated, offshore gambling sites are guaranteed to have measures in place that ensure a fair and safe environment for bettors.  Additionally, without a governing body to enforce regulation, offshore gambling operators aren’t required to handle player funds in a responsible manner. Licensed operators on the other hand, are required to hold player funds in accounts separate from their own, or that of any other players.

You can spot offshore gambling sites by looking at the website’s domain name – domains ending in .EU or .AG aren’t licensed to operate in South Carolina.

Will it be safe to bet on sports in South Carolina?

Yes, in the event that South Carolina legalizes sports betting the activity is likely to be safe, fair and strictly regulated. South Carolina has a track record of implementing very stringent gambling regulations for the activities that are already permitted, and sports betting would be no exception.

In addition to safety measures, it is important that players gamble responsibly.  Never bet more than you can afford to, or chase your losses. If you’re concerned about your gambling habits or know someone that may be suffering from problem gambling, there are several resources available to you.

The National Council on Problem Gambling operates the National Problem Gambling Helpline which South Carolinians can call to speak to a trained counsellor. The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) offers problem gambling assessments and services to South Carolina’s residents. DAODAS also runs the South Carolina Gambling Helpline

You can contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline via:

Call: 1-800-522-4700

Text: 1-800-522-4700

Live Chat

You can contact the South Carolina Gambling Helpline via:

Phone: 1-877-452-5155

Who regulates gambling in South Carolina?

The South Carolina Education Lottery is overseen by the state’s lottery board while charitable gambling is overseen by the state.

How old do I have to be to gamble in South Carolina?

To play the state lottery you must be at least 18 years old, and if you wish to gamble at one the casinos on a cruise ship you must be 21 years old.

The journey to legal and regulated sports betting in South Carolina

1788 – South Carolina was officially recognized as a state and banned all forms of gambling.

1992 – Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), prohibiting sports betting across US states. Four states were made exempt from the law: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. These states already had legal sports betting regulations in place.

2001 – South Carolina legalized the South Carolina Education Lottery.

2002 – The state’s first lottery draw took place.

2003 – Voters in the state rejected legislation that would allow tribes to enter compacts for gambling with the state.

2008 – The state authorized gambling on cruise ships and luxury yachts. The same year the state authorized the sale of lottery tickets online

2012 – South Carolina’s Supreme Court declared that poker was an illegal game of chance.

2018 – On 14 May, the Supreme Court reached a decision in the legal battle between New Jersey and the US sports leagues. In a seven to two vote, it was agreed that one of the clauses in PASPA violated the Tenth Amendment, as it commandeered power from states to regulate their own gambling industries. This paved the way for all US states to decide whether or not to legalize sports betting. In the weeks after the repeal of PASPA, a number of US sportsbooks launched across the country.

2019 – Lawmakers proposed legislation that would legalize sports betting in South Carolina.

South Carolina’s lawmakers are currently considering the prospect of legalizing sports betting. Check back with BettingUS for more updates on sports betting in the Palmetto State.