Is Sports Betting Legal in South Carolina?

The state of South Carolina is unique in its weirdness in the sports department. They have no professional franchise within their state lines. Most of their interest gets deferred to their northern sibling, North Carolina. But South Carolina, unlike many other locations, does have a markedly active collegiate sports scene, with no less than three powerhouses, across namely football, that routinely receive loads of recognition at the national level.

South Carolina Sports Betting Law

Stringent. That's the best word to describe South Carolina's stance on sports betting. They do not offer legal sportsbooks of any kind. They barely offer any casino options at all. Legislature has been proposed to allow this type of gambling, perhaps on one of their casino cruise ships, but it's become pretty clear that it will take a lot for South Carolina to move off their current rigid position.

Bereft of Casinos

Right now, South Carolina doesn't have any official land casinos. They used to have one owned and operated by by the only federally recognized tribe in the area, the Catawba tribe, but they eventually shut the doors once the state's lottery system—which was implemented around 2002—began eating away at their annual profit totals.

Cruise Ship Casinos

South Carolina is, however, among the states that offer casino-boat options. Patrons get to board the ship and sail out to international waters, which are only three miles away. From there, they'll able to enjoy the thrills of all gaming types, both table and electronic, before returning to dock.

Waiting on Daily Fantasy Sports

Daily fantasy sports bettors are still waiting for the A-okay from South Carolina. Though no position has been communicated one way or the other, legislature is pending that would allow for the legal patroning on sites like FanDuel and Draft Kings.

This in mind, don't hold your breath for a green light. It might not be coming.

South Carolina essentially defines gambling as betting on the outcome of any event, regardless of the skill level or chance involved. That doesn't leave a lot of room for interpretation, so if they're going to legalize daily fantasy sports, they'll first have to amend the law to erase games of skill.

At the bare minimum, they'll need to change the definition of what a "bet" is, so that the act of depositing and wagering money with DFS sites doesn't fall on the illegal side of the fence.

Social Gambling Gray Areas Aplenty

Similar to the state of Rhode Island, South Carolina doesn't technically allow for social gambling. Bet on a round of golf between you and a friend, and you're breaking a law.

Organize a football box pool for the Super Bowl, and you're breaking the law. Host a poker game at your dining room table, and guess what: You're breaking the law.

There is one silver lining to this outmoded language: These laws don't appear to be strictly enforced. As South Carolina seeks to allow daily fantasy sports and even some variations of sportsbooks, they're not in the business of prosecuting people for participating in small-scale contests. Take these games to a larger scale, with someone cutting a profit beyond entry winnings, and you might get yourself into some trouble.

South Carolina Gambling Law Overview

Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren't allowed in South Carolina at this time.

  • Casino Gambling: Not legal (unless on a cruise ship that has sailed out to international waters
  • Tribal Gambling: Legal (though there currently isn't one)
  • Poker: Not legal
  • Horse-Race Betting: Legal
  • Dog-Race Betting: Not legal
  • Lottery: Legal
  • Daily Fantasy Betting: Not specified (but there is a pending proposal)
  • Social Gambling: Not specified
  • Charitable Gambling: Legal
  • Online Gambling: Not specified

South Carolina Sports Teams

Clemson Tigers (College Football)

With 41 major Bowl-game appearances under their belt, the Clemson Tigers are one of the most successful college football programs in the country. At this very moment, they're playing through something of a golden era. They have earned 12 straight Bowl-game cameos while also making each of the past two National Championship contests, through which they're 1-1.

Reaching the Big Show was hard before, prior to the BCS' College Football Playoffs. It's even harder now, on the ride side of it. That the Tigers have tallied two consecutive championship bids is nothing short of mesmerizing.

South Carolina Gamecocks (College Football)

The South Carolina Gamecocks aren't nearly as decorated as their state-brother Tigers, but they're still a big attention grabber. They've made Bowl games to close the season in seven of the past eight years while remaining fairly competitive within the SEC.

All of that said, the Gamecocks, by collegiate standards, are laboring through a rebuilding period. Since going 11-2 in three consecutive seasons, between 2011-2013, they've posted a combined record of 16-22 over the past three years.

Winthrop Eagles (College Basketball)

Yes, indeed: Another college program.

The Winthrop Eagles are years removed from their heyday, which unfolded during the late 1990s and lasted into the mid-2000s. In that span of 10 years, they secured eight NCAA tournament bids, most of which were admittedly first-round exits.

Since 2009, they have clinched March Madness participation only twice, losing once in the first round and once before the Round of 64 even tipped off.

Still, making the tournament at all was a big deal in 2017. It didn't matter that they lost in the first round. It was the first time in more than half-decade they have sniffed March Madness. There's now hope that they can build off that 26-7 season and journey deeper into the bracket next time around. Even if they only make it to the second round, it'll be just the second time in the school's history that they've ever gone that far.

South Carolina's Biggest Sporting Event of the Year

Counter to most other big golf events, the South Carolina open is not strictly for PGA participants. It is organized by the Carolinas sector for PGA of America, but the tournament is nevertheless open to both amateurs and professional billings. It has been up and running every year since 1952, with rolling locations throughout the state's many, many (many) golf courses.

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