Online Poker and Gambling Laws in South Carolina
2021 Update: Can I Play Online Poker in South Carolina?
Things aren’t looking good for online poker regulation in South Carolina. The state did try to make some moves on sports betting after the 2018 Supreme Court ruling. There was a strong attempt to legalize sports betting in 2019. This came in the form of two different bills. One would’ve legalized a bunch of gambling in the state, including casinos and sports betting. That bill failed after its first hearing and no new legislation was picked up in 2020. We’ll see if they try again in 2021.
The opposition was so bad that a bill that would’ve just established a commission to study gambling and the potential benefits to the state failed in 2019 too. Back in 2017 there was a bill to legalize just sports betting, but that didn’t make it through either. Sports betting legislation is usually a good indicator of potential online poker legislation, but that doesn’t look like it’s happening in South Carolina anytime soon.
Online Poker and the Law in South Carolina
South Carolina’s not really a gambling state. Well, legally anyways. There are several stories of underground poker games getting busted in South Carolina. The laws against gambling are pretty strict in the state. They don’t leave a lot of leeway. The laws surrounding gambling and poker and covered in the South Carolina state statute. Sections 16-19-40 states:
“If any person shall play at any tavern, inn, store for the retailing of spirituous liquors or in any house used as a place of gaming, barn, kitchen, stable or other outhouse, street, highway, open wood, race field or open place at (a) any game with cards or dice, (b) any gaming table, or any gaming table known or distinguished by any other letters or by any figures, (c) any roley-poley table, (d) rouge et noir, (e) any faro bank (f) any other table or bank of the same or the like kind under any denomination whatsoever or (g) any machine or device licensed pursuant to Section 12-21-2720 and used for gambling purposes.”
You can’t gamble in taverns, barns or even an outhouse. They cover pretty much everything too, including any games with cards or dice. That would definitely include poker. The types of games, locations and everything is pretty restricted. Most states separate gambling from other legal forms of gaming with the word “chance”.
Here we see that South Carolina goes far beyond that. As the above article notes too, the state has enforced the rules pretty strictly. For instance, other conservative states like Wyoming allow social poker games. South Carolina is very strict with social gambling and really restricts charitable gaming too.
Therefore, it doesn’t seem like South Carolina is a prime candidate for legalizing online poker anytime soon.
Can I Play Poker on PokerStars in South Carolina?
If you’ve been reading, you can probably guess the answer. But no, you can’t play poker on PokerStars in South Carolina. The state hasn’t set online poker regulations that would let sites like PokerStars operate in South Carolina yet. Currently, you can only play PokerStars in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Luckily, those aren’t the only states where you can enjoy some online poker. There are plenty of sites that accept players from all 50 states, including South Carolina, and offer a great poker alternative to PokerStars. Some sites we recommend are Ignition Poker and America’s Cardroom. We’ve also reviewed these sites in detail, covering everything from banking methods to deposit bonuses. Check out our reviews below:
What are the Legal Forms of Gaming within the State?
Get ready for the long list of legal ways to gamble in South Carolina. Just kidding. Currently, South Carolina only offers a state lottery and charitable gaming. There aren’t even tribal casinos in the state and even charitable gaming is highly-restricted in the state. On November 4, 2014, South Carolina voters passed an amendment to legalize charitable raffles. Now, the other form of gambling, the lottery.
South Carolina’s lottery also started a bit late. It began on January 7, 2002 and has devoted more than $5.1 billion to education, kindergarten through higher education and scholarships. For every $1 spent on a lottery ticket, 26.4% goes towards the Education Lottery Account. In 2018, the lottery generated $435 million for education. The lottery’s been good to the state. More gaming could also help, but we’ll see if that happens.
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