South Carolina has always been a conservative state when it comes to gambling. There is no legal casino gaming or sports betting in the state, with only the state lottery and charitable raffles and bingo games permitted. Even then, the lottery only went live in 2000, and it took until 2015 for the state to allow raffles in schools and churches.
However, attitudes in the state are slowly beginning to change. Since the Supreme Court ruled to overthrow PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) in 2018, lawmakers in SC have made several attempts to legalize sports betting. From the gradual introduction of pari-mutuel wagering to launching full-blown retail and online sports betting platforms, senators and state representatives are trying every angle to get some form of sports betting live and legal in the Palmetto State.
The most recent chance of launching legal sports betting died in July 2022, so South Carolina bettors will need to cross the border to wager on their favorite sports teams for the time being. Still, there’s hope that more progress could be made in 2023. Read this full guide written by our experts, covering everything you need to know about sports betting’s legal status in South Carolina.
South Carolina has no major professional sports teams to call its own. However, its neighbor in the North has more than enough major league franchises for SC sports fans to support. The Tar Heel State’s NFL, NBA, MLB, and MLS teams represent both North and South Carolina, so bettors in the Palmetto State will have nearby teams to root for if sports betting becomes legal.
Bettors in South Carolina will no longer need to travel north to wager on the biggest sporting event in the US, and who better to back than the Carolina Panthers? Though based in North Carolina, the Panthers are one of two NFL teams with ties to more than one state. The Bank of America Stadium (where the Panthers play their home games) is built using truckloads of dirt from both North and South Carolina, meaning Palmetto State bettors can claim them as their own.
Much like the Panthers, the Carolina Hurricanes represent both North and South Carolina in the MLB. In addition, the Atlanta Braves and the Nashville Predators are already proven to be very popular with South Carolina residents.
There is no NBA team based in South Carolina, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of nearby teams to root for. The Charlotte Hornets represent the Palmetto State in the NBA, and the Atlanta Hawks and the Memphis Grizzlies also have a big following in SC.
College football games in South Carolina regularly draw in crowds of over 80,000, so there’s no doubt that the NCAA will prove to be a lucrative betting market. Plus, with the Gamecocks topping the 2022-23 NCAA women’s Power Ten, SC bettors will be quick to bet behind the state’s successful college basketball teams.
South Carolina bettors will have multiple options when it comes to hockey. Based in Raleigh, NC, the Carolina Hurricanes represent both North and South Carolina in the NHL. Alternatively, the NFL’s Washington Capitals are the official affiliates of SC’s minor league hockey team, the South Carolina Stingrays.
North Carolina legalized retail sports betting back in July 2019 but only opened the doors to its first retail sportsbooks in March 2021. The legislation permits sports betting in tribal casinos only, so NC bettors must visit one of the two Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos or the Catawba Two Kings Casino to place a legal wager.
Lawmakers introduced SB 688 and SB 38 in 2022 with the hope of legalizing online sportsbooks, but both bids failed. At present, the only type of online gambling available to bettors in the Tar Heel State is daily fantasy sports contests. Still, you can wager on DFS at regulated sites like DraftKings and FanDuel.
Georgia is even more cautious in its approach to gambling than North Carolina. Only bingo, fantasy sports, and the state lottery are currently permitted in the Peach State. Various bills have been proposed, though none have gained any traction. With no new legislation introduced in 2022, it’s unlikely that Georgia will open any retail or online sportsbooks in the near future.
Though not a bordering state, Tennessee is South Carolina’s nearest option for online sports betting. The Volunteer State is one of a select few in the US that offers online-only sports wagering. Bettors are free to wager on college and professional sports, though in-play prop bets on college games and prop bets on individual athletes aren’t allowed.
With no professional teams to support, South Carolina’s attention turns to college sports. The most popular college event is the annual Palmetto Bowl, which began back in 1896 and sees the University of South Carolina’s Gamecocks compete with Clemson University Tigers in the “Battle of the Palmetto State.”
Before the pandemic, the Palmetto Bowl held the record for the longest continuous non-conference rivalry in the US. The Tigers have a strong 72-43 lead over the Gamecocks, though the underdogs took home the 2022 title after securing a 31-30 win in the final quarter.
College betting is live and legal in North Carolina. If sports betting legislation passes in South Carolina, it’s likely that betting on college sports will also be allowed.
The Clemson vs. South Carolina rivalry doesn’t stop at football. The two university basketball teams first faced off in 1913 and have played continuously since 1977. Unlike the football department, the South Carolina basketball team has a 92-80 lead over Clemson University.
Both the Tigers and the Gamecocks represent their institution in the NCAA Division I, though they compete in different conferences (Tigers in the Atlantic Coast, Gamecocks in the Southeastern.)
Horse riding has been popular in South Carolina since the early 1700s, and the Carolina Cup is the biggest annual celebration of the sport. First held in 1930, the Carolina Cup is Camden’s annual steeplechase horse race.
The week-long event is held at the Springdale Race Course and features five individual races. Known as the “rite of spring”, the Carolina Cup regularly draws crowds of over 30,000 and holds the National Steeplechase Association attendance record (70,000+). If the proposed Equine Gaming Advancement Act is successful, bettors could be wagering on events like the Carolina Cup by late 2023.
Held annually at Darlington Raceway since 1950, the Southern 500 is NASCAR’s first and oldest superspeedway race. The racetrack is known for its brutal and uncompromising conditions, including asymmetrical bends and rough terrain.
Racers brave enough to tackle the raceway that’s “Too Tough to Tame” must complete 367 laps of the track, totaling 500 miles. The event is held on Labor Day and is widely considered to be one of the “crown jewels” in the NASCAR Cup Series.
The Southern 500 is one of South Carolina’s most popular annual sporting events - bettors from across the US wager thousands of dollars on the event yearly. When sports betting becomes legal in SC, Palmetto State bettors will be able to wager on NASCAR events like the Southern 500 and cash in on the races that are happening on their doorstep.
It is unclear when South Carolina will legalize sports betting. State representatives have attempted to pass sports wagering legislation twice in the past three years, but neither has been successful. Gov. Henry McMaster was re-elected in November 2022 and has expressed his intention to veto any gambling legislation put before him, so the chances of legal sports betting in SC are slim.
Despite the popularity of equestrian events in the Palmetto State, pari-mutuel horse wagering (online or in person) is not currently legal. Lawmakers introduced the Equine Gaming Advancement Act in March 2022 with the hopes of legalizing mobile advance deposit wagering. However, the bill has seen little progress so far and is unlikely to pass in 2023.
No, bettors in South Carolina can’t access BetMGM. Without legal sports betting or casino gambling, there is no reason for BetMGM to launch in the Palmetto State. If online gambling is legalized in SC, it’s possible that BetMGM may apply for a sportsbook license, though this won’t happen for some time.
Sports betting of any kind is not yet legal in South Carolina, so Caesars Sportsbook isn’t available in the state. Until sports wagering becomes legal in SC, you can travel to neighboring North Carolina and wager at one of the state’s two retail Caesars Sportsbooks, located in Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River.
Charitable bingo, raffles, and the state lottery are the only type of gambling currently legal in South Carolina. Various attempts have been made to legalize sports betting and casino games of chance, but all have been unsuccessful.
In short: no, you can’t play daily fantasy sports in South Carolina. No laws explicitly ban daily fantasy sports contests, so they are technically not illegal. However, they are not regulated in the state by a gaming commission, so none of the main DFS sites (such as DraftKings and FanDuel) operate in SC.
If South Carolina legalizes sports wagering, it’s likely that it will impose a minimum age restriction of 21. Though each state can decide its own sports betting rules, this is the minimum age requirement in most legal US states.
Online sports betting is not legal in South Carolina. Lawmakers have introduced legislation to permit mobile wagering, and several more have expressed their support. However, none of these bills have made it beyond the House. In 2023, legislators will discuss a bill to legalize pari-mutuel horse wagering via a single online platform.
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