The State of South Carolina has never leaned towards accepting gambling, and has been against gambling since as far back as the 1700s. Even before gambling was legally banned in South Carolina, gambling activities were frowned upon. This anti-gambling stance is so rigid that the mere mention of gambling could bring government officials to your doorstep.
Despite the gambling ban in the late 1700s, South Carolina residents played poker actively until enforcement of the law became quite serious in the late 20th century. Video poker slots were installed by several establishments in 1970 and 1980, and they got away with it by paying winners in cash rather than through the machines. This went on until a Supreme Court decision declared this practice illegal.
Just like in Georgia and North Carolina, opposition against gambling is still going strong in South Carolina, and there appears to be no hope of the legalization of betting in the state.
With this in mind, casino boats have been around for years to whisk players into international waters to enjoy the poker games they love. Now, those casino boats are allowed to operate.
The Legality of Poker in South Carolina
The ban that effectively stopped gambling in nearly all states in the United States of America was brought into effect in the year 1992. This ban is called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), sometimes referred to as the Bradley Act, and it defined the legal status of sports betting throughout the United States of America. PASPA was later repealed on the 14th of May, 2018 by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The Court ruled that PASPA was in violation of the “anti-commandeering principle” contained in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.
This, however, did not legalize sports betting in the United States. What it did was return the power to legalize and regulate sports betting into the hands of individual states. With this turn of events, many states seized this opportunity and paved the way for legal betting. Unfortunately, South Carolina staunchly refused to permit sports betting in the state, among others.
No form of poker, online or offline, wagering or non-wagering is allowed in South Carolina.
In South Carolina, the Code of Law defines gambling as: “…the risking of any money, credit, deposit, or other things of value for gain.” The law declares the verdict of a person guilty of gambling following the South Carolina Code of Laws (unannotated): section 16-19-10 through to section 16-19-100.
Below is an excerpt which clearly states the basis of finding a person guilty of illegal gambling:
“If any person shall play at a place of gambling or open place at (a) Any game with cards or dice, (b) any gaming table, (c) any roley-poley table, (d) rouge et noir, (e) any faro bank, (f) any other table or bank of the same denomination whatsoever, or (g) any machine or device licensed according to Section 12-21-2720 and used for gambling purposes…”
The punishment for first-time offenders is thirty days imprisonment and/or a $100 fine, sometimes less. A second-time offense is a serious felony, and is punishable by a twelve months prison sentence and a fine of $2000 or less.
Poker Rooms/Casinos in South Carolina
Today, poker is not alien in the state of South Carolina. Sure, there are no advertised poker rooms, but South Carolina residents still manage to indulge in the game. In 2006, poker players were convicted, but they successfully appealed on the basis that poker was a game of skill, and therefore not covered by the laws which state that games of luck are illegal. Unfortunately, the ruling was overturned in 2012.
In spite of these, residents still play the game at home or private parties.
Online Poker Sites
There are no legal online poker or casino sites in South Carolina. However, residents have no problem setting up accounts on online casinos licensed in other parts of the world. Here are some online casinos South Carolina residents can play poker on.
Bovada Online Casino
Bovada is a mobile-friendly online casino, and it is considered one of the United States’ top online casinos. Bovada has a large variety of quality games for players to choose from, and there are even live-dealer games to give you the real casino experience. The minimum bet is $1, and there is a maximum bet of $2000 for the high stakes players.
This online casino offers amazing bonuses. For poker players, there’s a 100% welcome bonus, and you get 50% on your first deposit up to $2500. This bonus is paid out 5% at a time, and you have 60 days to clear it. There’s also $90,000 guaranteed on tournament prize pools every weekend for tournament players. BetOnline has several deposit payment options, including Visa, Mastercard, Person to Person, Money Orders, Bitcoin, Skrill, Neteller, bank wire, cheque, and more.
Intertops Online Casino
Intertops online casino has a great reputation in the United States. The company has had online poker since 1998. Poker players who sign up with $25 or more get a welcome bonus of 200% up to $1000. On weekends, you can play poker and receive a $35 cashback on your deposit.
Ignition online casino has not been around for as long as the others, having been launched in 2016, but they have about 300 quality casino games for customers to choose from. The casino’s user interface is great, as it is easy to find anything you’re looking for even if it’s your first time using the site. It offers live-dealer games, as there are up to 20 games across 5 categories with live dealership for you to choose from. You can make deposits on Ignition with Bitcoin, Credit Cards, and wire transfer.