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South Carolina

With a 207-year-old law banning any game that includes cards or dice still on the books, South Carolina is far from the forefront when it comes to gambling. While other states around the nation are legalizing gambling in multiple forms, South Carolina is firmly entrenched in its old, anti-gambling ways.

As a silver lining for sports bettors, there aren't any specific laws on the book against betting on sporting events or making wagers online. South Carolina's overlapping anti-gambling laws would indicate that the state frowns on sports gambling, but there is little in the actual state laws going against it.

Gaming Laws in South Carolina

Gambling Laws in South Carolina don't leave much room for open interpretation. South Carolina law states that if any person shall play “any game with cards or dice”, he or she is committing a crime that could carry with it a punishment of up to 30 days imprisonment and a fine of up to $100. Furthermore, an owner of the property in which these games are being played could be subject to a prison sentence of up to a year and a fine of up to $2000.

There isn't even a stated minimum bet in the law; simply playing games that include cards or dice are technically illegal. By the letter of the law, a family game of Yahtzee or Monopoly is illegal. These laws are hopelessly outdated, but time and time again lawmakers in South Carolina such as former state Senate leader Glenn McConnell looking to update the state's stance on gambling have run into resistance.

Even charitable raffles, held among non-profit organizations for charity purposes, were considered illegal until they were finally passed into law on November 4, 2014. The fact that it took the state this long to approve even charitable, non-profit gambling is a good indicator of how anti-gambling South Carolina is.

Sports Betting in South Carolina

South Carolina's gambling laws are so outdated that they actually don't make any direct reference to sports or betting on sports. While sports betting would likely be included under the illegality of “engaging in betting”, there is no punishment or crime laid out for sports betting like there is for card games and table games.

Bookmaking is explicitly stated as illegal. Any person who engages in “bookmaking, with or without writing, at any time or place” is guilty of a misdemeanor and could face a fine of up to $1000 and a jail sentence of up to six months if convicted. But there are no clear laws against the person placing the bets with those bookmakers.

Online Betting

All of this makes online betting a relatively safe option on South Carolina. In addition to there being no clear laws against sports gambling, there is also no mention of online gambling in the South Carolina Code of Laws.

Offshore sportsbooks are not under South Carolina's jurisdiction, and are therefore free to take bets in accordance with the laws of their own countries. To date, no one in South Carolina has been arrested or punished for betting on sports online.

Poker and Casino in South Carolina

While land-based casinos are clearly illegal in the state of South Carolina, there is one loophole available for bettors that want to play slot and table games. The Southern Elegance Casino Cruise and the Suncruz Casino are two cruise boats that travel from the Little River in South Carolina out into international waters where players can play slot machines, table games, and poker.

While better than nothing, these cruise boats are far from perfect as a casino option. Players can not come and go as they please as they are confined to the boat for the entirety of the trip, and they are also limited to only a few hours of play as the casino must be closed when the boat is not in international waters.

Online Poker

For poker players, online poker is a much more appealing option than playing on a cruise boat. The games on international waters are extremely limited in versatility and stakes based on how many passengers are interested in playing while offshore poker rooms have a much larger player pool.

Playing poker in the state of South Carolina is illegal, but there are no specific laws in regards to doing so online.

Other Gaming Options in South Carolina

In 2002, the South Carolina Education Lottery began. The lottery features in-state drawings as well as the big multi-state drawings of the Powerball and Mega Millions. South Carolina residents can also purchase scratch-off lottery tickets.

In-state games include the Pick 3, Pick 4, and the Palmetto Cash 5. The Cash 5 offers bettors the option of purchasing a ticket for $1 to just be entered to win the stated prize or to purchase a ticket for $2 that activates a multiplier. Each drawing of the Palmetto Cash 5 also includes a multiplier drawing that can increase winning by as much as 5x.

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