South Carolina Gambling

FAQ / Q&A -- History -- Regulation -- Land Based Casinos -- Fun Facts


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South Carolina Online Casinos


Regulation and legality of online gambling

The sites that operate online poker, slots, roulette, blackjack and other casino games are unlicensed in the state. They are licensed elsewhere because South Carolina does not have an established regulatory framework to put internet casinos in.

The law identifies only bingo, raffles, and the state lottery as legal. The rest has not been made explicitly legal. It is really interesting to observe both gambling over the internet and gambling over international waters. Aren’t those two basically the same. Cruise ships are allowed, so internet gambling is too, as long as it takes place at offshore casino sites and not illegal intrastate web locations.

South Carolina needs a land-based casino industry first, and then we could talk about the odds of developing a regulated online gaming market. At least, that was the case with all other US states which have legalized online gambling so far. Some government officials have been fighting for commercial casinos; the state's roads need repair and some believe that casinos would be the perfect way to generate funds for those purposes. Even if that eventually leads to functioning casinos, it could take years, and then more years to start local gambling websites.

Did you know that SC once had thousands upon thousands of video lottery and video poker terminal scattered around the state? Yes, that’s right. VLTs were a multi-billion-dollar industry that contributed to the construction and renewal of many schools, hospitals, and public places alike.

In October 1999, VLTs were proclaimed unconstitutional by the South Carolina Supreme Court. An order was issued for every machine to be shut down and removed before June of 2000. The decision was somewhat influenced by the disturbing case of a woman whose baby suffocated because she didn’t pay attention whilst playing video poker.

As all conservative politicians do, SC lawmakers blade VLTs for the tragic death of this baby, which sparked a lot of negative sentiment towards gambling as a whole. This type of reversal is unique in US gambling history, as most states gradually expand their legislation in order to adopt new technologies and to acquire new streams of revenue.

Currently, there are no land-based casinos whatsoever in South Carolina. The only way to legally play table games or poker is to board one of several casino cruises at Myrtle Beach. When it comes to activities not involving real money, you can play the lottery, partake in social games, or go to charitable bingo nights.

Things aren’t all that grim, believe it or not. You can still play at offshore casinos, without any fear of suffering legal consequences. SC authorities cannot prosecute you for playing at a site registered in another jurisdiction. There are also no laws forbidding these offshore casinos from welcoming players from South Carolina, so you can basically find safety in this legal loophole.

As for the possibility of a gambling expansion in South Carolina, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. The state has been running into some serious budget problems the last 10 or so years, so online casinos might turn out to be a stable stream of revenue. Some politicians, such as Rep. Todd Rutherford with H3102, are trying to make a difference. It’s just a matter of time, really.


Gambling history in South Carolina

South Carolina had tens of thousands of video lottery terminals across the state at some point in the 1990s. Establishments such as convenience stores and bars started installing them in the 1970s and their number amounted to 34,000 gaming machines, which were de facto video poker machines. These operators exploited a loophole in the law and for years the legislation tried to do something about it. First, they introduced all sorts of limitations and restrictions like limited daily winnings and a limited number of machines per venue. Video poker was outlawed in 1999 and shut down in 2000.

The only forms of legal gambling in South Carolina are strictly controlled social games, charitable bingo games and the state lottery, established in 2001. The South Carolina state lottery sells tickets to lotto drawings and scratch-off instant game tickets. Bingo is present through charitable organizations, and also through high stakes bingo halls offered by the Catawba Tribe.


Land based casinos

Restrictive legislation has led to South Carolina having zero land-based casino venues. Not one casino is operational, neither led by commercial companies nor tribes. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allows federally recognized tribes to offer gambling in their reservations, but the Catawba Tribe has only been permitted to spread high stakes bingo games and every attempt to expand into a casino by the tribe was sanctioned.

In fact, there are casinos operating within the state, but they aren’t exactly land-based. We’re referring to two casino cruises which depart from Little River (near Myrtle Beach). Both of them are owned and operated by The Big “M” Casino company. These establishments are able to keep themselves afloat, literally, by offering their patrons to book a cruise during which they will have access to gambling tables and the like (video poker, slots, craps, roulette). Other alternatives include casino resorts out of state. Three-to-four hours of driving can lead residents of South Carolina to venues such as Harrah’s Cherokee properties in Western North Carolina. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is closer and offers over 100 table games, video slot machines, three hotel towers, four restaurants and plenty of other amenities.

Neighbouring States: Georgia, North Carolina



At what age can you legally play at South Carolina online casinos?

South Carolina has an age limit of 18 years for all forms of legal gambling (the few that exist), but casino cruises require players to be at least 21 years-old. Therefore, we would advise you to abide by this threshold.

Even though no one has ever been arrested for playing at offshore casinos, underage gambling is still not tolerated. If you’re 21 or older, you should be safe from law enforcement, as they have historically turned a blind eye towards SC citizens playing at online casinos.

What games are offered at casino sites in South Carolina?

Games of all types can be played at online casinos available in SC. The only thing you need to do is conduct a bit of research about what you’re interested in, and you’ll surely find whatever it is you’re looking for.

Does this include live casino games, too?

Yes, of course. Since there are no land-based casinos in SC, players love to feel like they’re on the casino floor. Live dealer titles provide just that, with a combination of live-streamed games and some RNG elements to spice things up.

What payment methods are in use by South Carolina online casinos? Are offers the same as in the rest of the US?

South Carolina doesn’t have its own casino sites, but offshore ones are aware of the players’ banking preference. The situation is pretty much the same as just about anywhere. Cards are still used more frequently than anything else, but eWallets and cryptocurrencies are narrowing the gap.

Do South Carolina casino sites pay withdrawals fast? What does this depend on?

In most cases, they do. The only exception is if a site has some sort of identity verification protocol. If that’s the case, you might be seeing a 1-2 day delay. Other than that, here’s what you can expect depending on the payment method that’s being used:

● eWallets: Instant

● Credit/debit cards: 2-5 days

● Wire transfer: 4-6 days

● eCheck: 5-7 days

● Cryptocurrencies: 15 minutes - 1 hour

Fun Facts about South Carolina

  • The retro culture of drive-in movie theatres is still alive in in South Carolina. Three drive-in theatres are still operating: The Auto 25 Drive-In in Greenwood, Highway 21 Drive-In Movie Theater in Beaufort, and the Monetta Drive-In Theater in Monetta.
  • The world’s hottest chili pepper, the Carolina Reaper, is grown in South Carolina. So hot that often people who eat them will spasm, cry and vomit, the Carolina Reaper is grown by Ed Currie (Smokin’ Ed) of the PuckerButt Pepper Company.
  • Tattooing was illegal in South Carolina until relatively recently – until 2004. Residents of the Palmetto State would often drive out of state to nearby Georgia or North Carolina to get a tattoo legally. Now, there are more than a hundred tattoo parlors where you can get inked in SC.

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