South Carolina Sports Betting Groundwork Laid


Before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the PASPA Act last May, South Carolina was one of a handful of states considering the introduction of sports betting, and although there has been little concrete progress so far, the groundwork has been laid for changes in 2019.

Last month, two Bills were pre-filed in the South Carolina Senate, which would enable the continuation of discussions on sports betting, although progress is likely to be slow.

Unlike some states, South Carolina has no existing casino industry, either commercial or tribal, and the only form of gambling currently permitted is the state lottery. But proponents of sports betting estimate that a South Carolina industry could be worth around $3.2 billion annually, generating as much as $215 million in taxable revenue, as well as 2,500 new jobs, and the obvious financial rewards are likely to ensure that sports betting remains on the agenda this year.

Measure S57, which was introduced by Sen. Gerald Malloy, proposes to amend the South Carolina constitution to permit sports betting and casino activities, although the bill does not propose that the state legislature should determine where casinos could be built.

The second bill, S71, which is also supported by Malloy, proposes the creation of a South Carolina Gambling Study Committee to look into the regulation of gambling, with findings to be presented to lawmakers by January 31, 2020 at the latest.

Sports betting faces considerable opposition from the Republicans in South Carolina, including the governor, Henry McMaster, who was re-elected in November, and who is on record as being opposed to gambling. But high profile US Senator Lindsey Graham has spoken out in favour of casino gaming in the state, offering some hope for pro-sports betting campaigners as 2019 dawns.

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