South Carolina has some of the strictest gambling laws in the country. Nearly all types of gambling, including sports betting, are illegal in the state, with a few exceptions made for charitable raffles, bingo, and state lottery games.
Although there have been efforts in recent years to legalize sports betting and commercial gambling, these efforts have not received much support. As a result, the future of online sports betting in South Carolina is unclear.
Here’s everything you need to know about the potential future of online sports betting in South Carolina.
Recent News and Details About Sports Betting in South Carolina
- South Carolina has restrictive gambling laws. Both retail and online sports betting are illegal in the state, and the only types of gambling permitted are bingo, raffles, and the state lottery.
- The South Carolina House and Senate have made attempts to legalize all forms of commercial gambling, including sports betting, but they have all failed.
- South Carolina residents don’t have too many sports betting options nearby, either. The Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in Cherokee, North Carolina, offers sports betting, and Tennessee is the closest state with online sports betting.
- While many states that haven’t legalized sports betting do permit horse race betting, this is not the case in South Carolina. Instead, horse racing and pari-mutuel betting are not legal in South Carolina. Popular horse race betting platforms like TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica are not available in the state.
- Despite South Carolina’s strict gambling laws, the state has not passed any legislation to prohibit daily fantasy sports (DFS) apps. South Carolina residents can enter DFS contests offered by platforms such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
Online Sports Betting in South Carolina: A Timeline
Online sports betting is not legal in South Carolina and will not likely be legalized in the foreseeable future. Recent attempts at legalizing sports betting have been unsuccessful, and the state does not seem in a rush to pass sports betting legislation. Here’s a closer look at some of the recent developments around this issue:
- June 7, 2022: HB 5277 is essentially dead in the water; there are only a few days left before lawmakers return for a special session, and several steps are still required before a vote can happen. A staffer states that the bill received no action, indicating it has no realistic chance to pass.
- April 21, 2022: South Carolina Reps. William Herbkersman and Todd Rutherford introduce HB 5277, which would legalize online sports betting in the state. The bill would allow eight to 12 online sports betting platform operators, each of which would be required to partner with a state entity.
- Jan. 12, 2021: Reps. Rutherford and Frank Atkinson introduce HB 3395, which would legalize sports betting in the state via constitutional amendment. This bill, however, never makes it to a vote and remains in the House Committee on Judiciary.
- 2020: South Carolina lawmakers made no attempt during the 2020 legislature to pass sports betting legislation. The issue won’t be revisited again until 2021 at the earliest.
- 2019: A joint effort between the House and Senate was made to legalize multiple forms of gambling, including sports betting and casino gaming. HJR 3409 and SJR 57 called for a constitutional amendment to legalize commercial gambling, but the bills failed to gain much traction.
How Do South Carolina Residents Feel About Sports Betting?
It’s unclear whether the majority of South Carolina residents would support legalizing sports betting. The most recent ballot measure related to gambling was the South Carolina Legalization of Charitable Raffles, Amendment 1, from 2014. This measure allowed nonprofit organizations to conduct charitable raffles. It was approved, receiving 989,991 “yes” votes versus 206,862 “no” votes.
However, charitable raffles are much different than sports betting, and given South Carolina’s strict gambling laws, it’s likely the legalization of online sports betting would be somewhat controversial.
Some lawmakers believe South Carolina residents would support sports betting legalization and already partake in sports betting to a degree. South Carolina Rep. Todd Rutherford stated: “The reality is — a lot of people already place sports bets.”
Given the governor’s opposition to legalizing sports betting and the state’s existing stance against gambling, it’s unlikely sports betting will be legalized in the near future.
Are Daily Fantasy Sports Apps Legal in South Carolina?
Daily fantasy sports apps, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, let players create fantasy sports teams and compete against other users in contests for cash and other prizes. These apps are particularly popular in states that prohibit sports betting — they’re often able to operate in a legal gray area because they walk the line between being games of chance and games of skill.
In South Carolina, DFS apps are not explicitly illegal. Despite the state’s strong stance against gambling, DFS apps remain unregulated and are able to accept entries from residents in South Carolina.
South Carolina Sports Betting FAQs
|Is online sports betting legal?||No|
|Is mobile sports betting legal?||No|
|Is betting legal at retail locations?||No|
|Minimum legal gambling age||N/A|
Editor’s Note: Information accurate as of July 2022.
Neighboring States That Legalized Sports Betting
Of the two states that border South Carolina, only North Carolina offers legal sports betting. Aside from North Carolina, Tennessee is the closest state to South Carolina that offers sports betting.
- North Carolina: Sports betting in North Carolina is limited to two retail sportsbooks located at tribal casinos. Online and mobile sports betting are unavailable in the state.
- Tennessee: Tennessee legalized online sports betting in 2019 and introduced its first sportsbooks in 2020. While there are several mobile betting apps available in the state, retail sports betting is not an option.