Sports betting continues to thrive in each state that offers the luxury to its residents and visitors, and other territories are taking notice.
The southeastern United States have been slow to adopt sports betting regulations and allow for domestic sportsbooks via in-person or online options. The scenario is no different for South Carolina, as they have been historically opposed to gambling in all of its forms.
Tennessee has recently regulated sports betting in the Volunteer State and their intake thus far has been impressive. Perhaps it is these numbers that cause regional lawmakers to take notice because three new bills regarding sports betting in South Carolina have been introduced into the House and Senate in the SC state legislature.
SC H3395 is a bill that would permit sports betting in the state and would allow for wagers to be made on horse racing and pro games. No mention is made regarding NCAA athletics, but there is further language indicating the possibility of full-blown casinos, complete with table games and slots.
The bill would also determine which areas where sports betting is permitted and declares the need for a governing body to dictate the regulatory actions in the state.
Many states establish legislative committees and study groups to research the impact of sports betting and gaming so that the legislature can make an informed decision. The purpose of SC S00067 is to form said committee and begin researching the fiscal data.
These studies take some time and often use regional states to base their comparisons on. These discussions are in their infancy, so sportsbooks in Charleston will have to wait. In fact, the description of the bill indicates a due date of January 21, 2022, so it appears that the real bulk of the debate will occur during the next session.
In order to make betting on sports legal in South Carolina, Article XVII of the state’s Constitution will need to be amended, which may automatically cause traditional lawmakers to vote against the bill. SC S00098 has been introduced for this purpose, and the three of these bills combined will open the door wide open for legislators to begin to consider adopting it as law.
If South Carolina is intent on passing legislation to allow sportsbook operators to enter the state and set up retail locations or online options, patrons could be betting on the NFL by late 2022.
These predictions represent the best-case scenario for the Palmetto State. This trio of gaming bills is likely to see a high volume of debate and have the potential to become buried under other, “more important” issues.
Sports betting in the USA is spreading like wildfire, with nearly half of the states opting for legal sportsbooks and the added tax revenue intake they provide. South Carolina will eventually regulate their own in-state sports betting. The only question is, how soon?
The biggest issue that legislators need to discuss is whether betting on college sports is allowed. There are no professional teams in SC, and college football is the dominant sport in the region as the most popular team is the South Carolina Gamecocks who play in the SEC, the top NCAAF conference.
The NFL represents the largest bet upon sport in the country, but SC sports fans want to bet on their “Cocks”! Opening domestic books without college football betting lines would be a major mistake, and will cause bettors to continue to look offshore for the best action.