Could South Carolina Sports Betting be Impacted by Lack of Successful New Legislation in 2024?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 19, 2024 12:00 AM
Though South Carolina sports betting has long lacked traction, this year has done little to increase the pressure on policymakers to change.

The 2024 calendar year is not off to a great first half if you’re someone hoping for clarity on the future of South Carolina sports betting. No new legislation been proposed inside the Palmetto State. Beyond that, the manner in which initiatives have unfolded throughout other states could nod toward an unsettling, albeit inevitable, truth for proponents of legal gambling.

The rate of sports betting legalization in the United States might finally have peaked.

On some level, of course, this is unavoidable. There are only 50 states. Thirty-eight of them already offer some form of legal sports betting. There is not an endless supply of new sports wagering markets. The actual rate of fresh entrants was always going to peak.

In a less literal sense, though, sports betting legalization may have recently brushed up against a ceiling. With just a couple of exceptions, the approval of sports gambling was seen as ineludible. As more and more states legalized, holdouts would naturally be inclined, if not forced, to follow suit. This logic held true when discussing the outlook of sports betting in South Carolina. Interest is not particularly high at the moment, but the progression of time would invariably change that.

This may still be the case. But shifts in policy are no longer taking place at an especially quick pace. And this enduring division on the matter of sports betting throughout the United States could end up further delaying a South Carolina sports betting timeline that was already ambiguous and, frankly, on the backburner.

New Sports Betting Legislation Throughout the USA has Repeatedly Failed in 2024 

In exact terms, sports betting popularity remains on the rise. And its legalization still represents an overwhelming majority. More than three-quarters of the USA has now green lit in-person sports betting. And more than half of those states have allowed top online sportsbooks in the United States to enter their market.

However, among other things, momentum is a key component when it comes to coaxing holdout states into policy recalibration. The more states that continue to legalize gambling, the harder it becomes for South Carolina sports betting to remain a non-priority. But if you were looking for other holdouts to alter course in 2024, well, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. As of this writing, no new sports betting legislation in the USA has been successful. And the likelihood that changes now rests entirely upon one state.

South Carolina Sports Betting is Not Alone When It Comes to Enduring Disinterest

To that end, here’s an overview of how the issue is playing out in 2024 across all 12 states without sports betting:

  • Alabama sports betting: After initial optimism, the latest bill to legalize Alabama sports betting wound up falling flat on its face in the Senate.
  • Alaska sports betting: The Last Frontier (no pun intended) has yet to show a material interest in sports betting. That may not change unless the other detached state, Hawaii, makes the leap first.
  • California sports betting: No new sports betting legislation in California was seriously debated in 2024. Experts, however, think that will change in 2025.
  • Georgia sports betting: Some held out hope sports betting in Georgia would garner more support this year. The latest proposal ultimately never got anywhere close to off the ground.
  • Hawaii sports betting: While sports betting in Hawaii remains illegal, the subject started to generate real buzz among lawmakers for the first time in years.
  • Idaho sports betting: There continues to be zero interest in legalizing Idaho sports betting. If we had to guess, they’ll be one of the final two or three states to make the transition.
  • Missouri sports betting: The push for sports betting in Missouri has failed at the Senate level on multiple occasions. Pro sports teams in the Show-Me State are currently trying to change that. If the 350,000-plus signatures their petition garnered are successfully validated, a sports gambling bill will appear on the 2024 election ballot.
  • Oklahoma sports betting: Despite continued efforts from Governor Kevin Stitt, sports betting in Oklahoma has yet to do much more than get repeatedly shot down. Most don’t see the status changing until Governor Stitt improves his relationship with local tribes.
  • South Carolina Sports betting: Moral beliefs and skepticism over South Carolina sports betting revenue continue to dominate the Palmetto State’s outlook.
  • Texas sports betting: The Lone Star State did not have legislative meetings this year. Sports betting discussions are expected to pick up in 2025, though its legalization is far from guaranteed.
  • Utah sports betting: There may not be a state in the USA less likely to legalize sports betting in the near or long term than Utah.

The Future of Sports Betting in South Carolina Could Hinge Largely on Its Success in North Carolina 

So, if new entrants to the legal sports betting field won’t be swaying South Carolina anytime soon, what will?

Two potential factors stand out. Firstly, a shift in political power could do the trick. If more officials with progressive views are elected, there’s a greater chance that sports betting in the Palmetto State is at least more actively debated. With that said, South Carolina has historically skewed toward conservative views, so this may be asking a little much.

The bigger factor: How North Carolina online sports betting ends up faring. The Tar Heel State launched their operations in March 2024. And there are already “How To Guides” around the internet that detail how South Carolina sports betting enthusiasts can leverage the proximity of North Carolina to their benefit. 

If sports betting in the Tar Heel State proves to be a major success, it could reverse South Carolina’s own view on the matter. Officials might even simply be driven to change their mind once estimates on how much South Carolina sports betting revenue is being funneled to their neighbor. 

This sounds a little bizarre on its face. South Carolina is already losing revenue to online sportsbooks outside the United States. Why is North Carolina any different? Mostly because it’s closer, which makes it easier to gauge the business being driven out of state. Yes, it may take a couple of years for the impact to be fully realized. But North Carolina sports betting is perhaps the most likely motivating factor behind any South Carolina sports betting legalization.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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