South Carolina Bows Down to Pressure and Proposes Legalizing Gambling

In May 2018, the United States Supreme Court overturned a 1992 Federal Law that barred betting in all forms. While this didn’t necessarily legalize betting, it set up the stage for States to determine whether it’s legal or not in their jurisdictions. But how did sports betting become illegal? Well, for generations, sports betting was unlawful. A good example is horse racing – established in the mid 17th century; horse racing was initially funded through lottery revenue. It was until 1868 when a book on horse thoroughbreds was published – American Stud Book. This book set up the stage for gambling. However, by the early 20th century, gambling was illegal.

South Carolina considers Legalizing betting

According to Dan Etna, co-chair of the Sports Law Group at Herrick Feinstein LLP, when one State made betting illegal, others out rightly followed. It was in their DNA to consider it illegal. However, since the Federal Law was quashed, more and more states have been legalizing betting. For States in the USA’s South Eastern parts, most have been slow in adopting sports betting. But for South Carolina, some of the hardliners have begun to consider the possibility of legalizing it. With neighboring states such as Tennessee raking in millions on their first month, South Carolina was just moments away from deliberating on Sports betting.

SC could make millions in taxes

South Carolina has held a hard-line stand on legalizing betting. While it has introduced three new bills on sports betting, it won’t be their first rodeo. Over the years, Democrats have flaunted the idea of legalizing betting in the State, but for hardliners such as Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, legalizing betting will be going against everything SC stands for. Nonetheless, if the bills were to pass, South Carolina would make close to 16 million dollars in taxes.

NCAA sports not included in betting

While it is still a long shot, these three new bills, if they pass, will legalize all forms of betting and determine how revenues will be collected. The SC H3395 bill will allow horse track racing and pro games. Of concern, though, is that there is no mention of NCAA athletics. Still, somewhere along the lines, there is mention of a possibility of legalizing casinos, complete with slots and table games. The bill will also create a regulatory body to oversee all gambling activity while also determining where sports betting will occur – SC00067. South Carolina doesn’t have a professional sports team; hence, college football is the State’s dominant sport. With no mention of betting on NCAA, it will be interesting to see how legislators feel about this.

Before approving gambling laws, most States establish legislative committees to study the impact of sports betting. This helps the legislature make an informed decision. For South Carolina to legalize sports betting, Article XVII will have to be amended. This will be a tough challenge since most south Carolina representatives are conservative. If the bills were to pass to law, the earliest that patrons could begin betting would be in late 2022. However, deliberations on these three bills are expected to take a while.

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Jackson
Our in-house expert for all things regulation, Jackson covers all major recent developments across US states relating to gambling laws & legislation.