South Carolina Dems to Poll Voters on Online Gambling

South Carolina Dems to Poll Voters on Online GamblingSouth Carolina is not one of the states currently considering online gambling legislation, but it may join the list if residents vote for approval.

The South Carolina Democratic Party will poll voters on a primary ballot next month as to whether gambling expansion should be considered as a means of generating revenue in order to repair the state’s highways and bridges. Estimates by the Department of Transportation indicate that over $20 billion may be needed for the maintenance project, reported.

Among the questions to be asked on the Democratic primary ballot is if voters feel that individual states should decide for themselves whether to enact Internet poker and gambling legislation or if the matter should be decided by federal regulators. As many are aware, a DoJ ruling in late 2011 that reclarified the Wire Act currently allows states the right to make the decision without federal approval.

A second question that Democratic voters in South Carolina will consider is whether gambling laws in the state should be “modernized” in order to obtain the needed revenue instead of increasing taxes. While modernized most certainly refers to Internet wagering, it could also pertain to land-based gambling expansion.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford (D-Columbia) stated that a handful of casinos in Myrtle Beach, one of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations, would bring in millions of dollars in much needed revenue. Currently, casino gambling in South Carolina is operating only on riverboat cruise ships. There are no commercial or tribal land-based casinos.

Rutherford is aware that a number of his constituents may be morally opposed to gambling and is allowing those voters to have their say by including the gambling questions on the ballot. The advisory referendum will allow lawmakers to gauge how the public views gambling expansion, both brick and mortar and online.

There are roughly 10 states that are said to be seriously contemplating online poker and gambling legislation. The states most often mentioned that are perhaps next in line to join Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey in regulating Internet wagering include Pennsylvania, California and Illinois.

There are not many states that can operate viable online poker regimes without partnering with other states. The three that are currently operating would benefit greatly by joining forces and combining player pools.

Nevada and Delaware plan to launch the country’s first interstate compact later this year. But it is certainly hoped that other states such as South Carolina will eventually enact legislation that would allow regulated online poker to spread throughout the nation.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett