When it comes to things moving swiftly in South Carolina, it seems like progress is not high on the agenda. Especially when that progress has anything to do with gambling. Sure, you can play a little lottery, even a spot of bingo is on the cards. But much more than that and you’re really in the wrong place.
But with so many states finally making the leap to legalization in 2020, is 2021 going to be the year that SC residents are finally removed from the betting dark ages? Or will the courts again see fit to deem that legalization of gambling is just not that much of a priority.
What’s the Hold Up?
Without going into a whole load of details about Senate Joint Resolution 67, House Joint Resolution 3395 and other interesting political jargon (but look it all up if you’re that way inclined), it just seems like it’s not meant to be for the S.C. What these little pieces of legislature are all about is changing the very constitution of the state; or at least amending it to get some sports bets going.
Americas Supreme Court has even opened the door for sports betting enthusiasts, giving each state the ability to make that decision for themselves. And to date, 26 states have either made the move or in the process of doing so.
Things have certainly come a long way in the past few years and nothing has pushed that forward faster than the online gambling monster. So then, who or what is constantly putting the brakes on things?
Who’s For/Who’s Against
Well, if you start from the tippy top, South Carolina’s Governor Henry McMaster is dead against it for the start, declaring gambling to be against everything that South Carolina stands for. But it’s funny with politics sometimes, that people can change their tune pretty fast when faced with financial catastrophe, or maybe a wee epidemic?
COVID-19 has certainly shaken things up and certainly has done nothing to help SC’s struggling economy. Could the tax revenue from sports betting be just what the doctor (with a PhD in Economics) ordered? After all, almost anyone can bet online casino via smartphone from anywhere, so why not get some piece of that pie?
The main problem is that the law regarding the legality of gambling in SC is so badly put together, you can nearly interpret it towards whichever way you like. It’s because of this that online gambling has been rife over the last few years, in a state that outlaws gambling! In fact, you’d be nearly hard pushed to even get a conviction if caught, unless you happen to be playing on a Sunday, which has a strict $50 fine.
The general consensus seems to be more about how all this mess can be tidied up to form more up to date regulations regarding gambling as a whole, than whether sports book is bad. And that’s the part that will take a lot of work.
But also, SC is still a very strict Christian state that doesn’t want to lose their voters. So, if you expect the politicians to change before the people do, don’t hold your breath. They’d be too scared to lose their precious pay checks before getting their hands dirty.
Why is South Carolina so Reluctant to Change?
It wasn’t that long ago that gambling was rife in SC. In the 90’s, video gambling literally took the state by storm with an estimated 30,000 machines gracing every gas station, convenience store and tavern. But rather than take the bull by the horns, the politicians became blinded by the revenue and didn’t act fast enough to regulate the business and protect consumers.
With such a leash to strangle themselves, people got carried away and as the pressure from the church kicked in, law makers were forced to prove their might. In 1999, the South Carolina Supreme Court abolished a proposed referendum to seek public support and gambling was gone.
20 years later and the world is a completely different place. But what the people of South Carolina desperately need is a financial boost to help everyone kick start the economy post COVID-19. Could the tax revenue from sports betting be that kick?
In the end, money will inevitably pave the way and all that income going over the border to Georgia and Tennessee will undoubtedly worry the powers that be. We’re sure that 2022 is going to be the year, and cannot wait to see the difference it will make to the state. It just seems as though things just take that little bit longer down south.
So, as 2021 is fast looking to be another year of zero activity on the SC sports betting front, let’s look at the bright side. At least you’re not in Utah!
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