South Carolina, the Palmetto State, is arguably the most restrictive gambling US State. Along with Utah, Tennessee and Hawaii, there simply aren’t that many gambling options and the laws are also strictly enforced.
There is one avenue, albeit limited, of gaming and that is via the Big M Cruise which offers the choice of two yachts to bring you to international waters to play. The yachts depart from Myrtle Beach and operate throughout the year. Games include: blackjack, slot machines and craps. The two yachts have a capacity of carrying approximately 200 to 400 passengers.
There is a state lottery which only just started in 2001. The state lottery offers the multi jurisdictional games of PowerBall and Mega Millions.
Bingo can be played legally in accordance with the States definition of charitable gaming. The prize money is limited to $1,000 in prize pool per round and each operator of a bingo event or game must purchase a license.
But apart from the above, there isn’t much else available in South Carolina.
The South Carolina gambling laws are broad enough to cover many forms of gambling. Fines include $1,000 and up to one year jail time and the law enforcement agencies actively police illegal gambling dens.
Types of gambling that is illegal include: poker, sports betting, casino table games and slots.
Types of gambling that is legal include: bingo and state lottery.
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South Carolina Online Gambling
Online Bingo is allowed and accepted by offshore bingo sites.
Online casinos could be deemed as illegal but in reality they are explicitly unaddressed in the law. Offshore online casinos accept Players from South Carolina in an unregulated and unlicensed market.
The legality of Daily Fantasy Sport remains unknown as the law do not specifically address DFS gambling. As a result, the big brands of DraftKing and FanDuel offer and accept Players from South Carolina in an unregulated and unlicensed market.
Online Poker remains illegal.
Sports betting is explicitly illegal with no change to the laws in site. Attempts were made to legalize in 2019 but failed emphatically. No further attempts are anticipated to be made in the near future.
South Carolina ranks as the 25th in the US for playing at offshore online casinos. Wagering an estimated $10 million per year, it ranks just above Alabama and behind Oregon. The state with the largest wagering for offshore online casino is California at $180 million.
South Carolina has no land based casinos, but does offer two yacht casinos to carry you to international waters. These yachts are operated by the Big M corporation.
The two yachts are not the same in size, one significantly smaller than the other. The two yachts are named Big “M” Casino Ship I and Big “M” Casino Ship II.
What to expect on the cruise?
Be prepared to go out into the ocean, and if rocky waters anticipate that you will notice the rocking motion. Therefore, if you are susceptible to sea sickness take care, you will need to consume sea sickness pills prior to boarding the yacht. Although, the boats are described as yachts, these are not your small typical yachts. Rather these yachts are huge! They hold several floors, for gambling, dining and entertainment.
After boarding the cruise, it only takes ten to fifteens minutes until you are in “international” waters. Now who actually knows if you are in international waters, only the Captain would know, but it would be announced by the crew once you are there. The slot machines are not the most recent, but they are a lot of fun as with the array of table games on offer. The cruise also offers great buffet dining and performers.
In summary, the yacht casino is more of a holistic event than simply gaming fun. It’s more about the excitement of jumping onto a boat, heading out to sea, experiencing something new, then heading back to land. Give yourself a good two hours for a return trip.
Even social gambling is illegal with real money and with fake money.
Founded in 2002. the South Carolina lottery is officially known as the South Carolina Education Lottery. All proceeds are dedicated to the Education initiatives of the state such as building schools establishing colleges and universities. Approximately $400 million is raised annually, with approximately 10% of proceeds directly contributing to South Carolina education.
Games offered by SCECL include the inter-state Powerball and Mega Millions.
As an indicator as to how old and outdated the gambling laws in South Carolina are, references are made to barns, taverns, inns, outhouses and open wood cabins. Its inconceivable how laws this old can still be thought to be relevant to today’s world, let alone not have any action to update them.
The last few changes to the law all relate to State lottery, in which in 2002 the first state lottery was launched, followed by the Powerball and Mega Millions in 2010.
What drives South Carolina to be such a restrictive state in gambling is how it defines gambling. Gambling is defined as “All games that utilize the placing of some of value, both for games of skill and games or luck are defined as illegal”. This all encompassing definition does not differentiate between games of skill and games of luck. Most US States allow for the difference to be recognized in gambling law, however in South Carolina there is no such differentiation. Therefore ALL games are illegal unless specifically made exempt in law.
A Lawyer’s Opinion
South Carolina has strict gambling laws with most forms being outlawed even games of dice and cards where no money is involved, giving out warnings to retirement communities that recreational bridge is prohibited under law. See S.C. Code Ann. § 16-19-40 et seq.
Sports Betting: Online betting on fantasy sports is now legal in South Carolina, permitting FanDuel, DraftKings and others to operate within the state so long as they follow the regulations on operation. General sportsbook making, however, remains prohibited. Individuals who wish to make online sportsbooks, thus, must do so through platforms operating outside of the state.
Race Betting: All forms of race betting is prohibited in the state of South Carolina. Thus, individuals who wish to make race wagers must do so through platforms operating outside of the state.
Online Gambling: Online gambling, including participation in poker rooms, is not permitted in the state of South Carolina. Even land-based poker games and charitable events are not permitted. Thus, individuals wishing to participate in online gambling, including poker and other such games of skill, must place bets online through platforms operating outside of the state. Given the state’s strict stance on gambling, it is unlikely it will be one of the first to permit its online counterparts.
Online Gaming: Skill games are not permitted. Thus, individuals who wish to pay games such as Bedazzled must do so through platforms operating outside of the state.
The information in this multi-state research is made available by a licensed, U.S. attorney, and is for informational purposes only. We make no representations that the information is complete or correct in its entirety. It should not be construed as providing specific legal advice, and you acknowledge that no attorney/client relationship exists between us. This brief should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed gambling and entertainment lawyer in your state.