South Carolina Lawmakers Move to Legalize Sports Betting

South Carolina Lawmakers Move to Legalize Sports Betting

A renewed effort to legalize sports betting is underway in South Carolina. A bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. William Herbkersman (R) and Rep. Todd Rutherford (D) was introduced in South Carolina in late April, reviving efforts to add the Palmetto State to the growing list of states embracing online legal sports betting in the USA.

The trend toward legalized sports betting was sparked in 2018 when the United States Supreme Court struck down a federal law banning sports betting in most jurisdictions across the country. In the wake of that groundbreaking decision, over 30 states have taken steps to open their doors to both retail and online sports betting, including South Carolina’s two neighbors, North Carolina and Georgia.

Proposed Sports Betting Law Breaks Ground on Crypto, eSports

The introduction of HB 5277 in the South Carolina legislature marks the first serious effort to revive the sports betting debate in this state since legislative efforts failed back in 2020. And, at first glance, it looks like the delay may have been worth it for South Carolina sports bettors.

The proposed legislation includes provisions that would make South Carolina the first state in the Union to allow cryptocurrencies to be used as a form of payment at legal, regulated sportsbooks. HB 5277 also features provisions that will enable regulated eSports betting, putting it well ahead of the curve compared to many states that have already legalized sports gambling.

Considering the sports landscape in South Carolina, the focus on eSports could give local sportsbooks an edge. Unlike its neighbors, North Carolina and Georgia, South Carolina is not home to any major league sports teams.

Apart from established NCAA powerhouses like Clemson University and the University of South Carolina, the biggest sports draw in the state include NASCAR racing and PGA golf. Neither of which have been overlooked in the proposed legislation, which lays the groundwork for major sports franchises and hosting venues like Darlington Speedway and Kiawah Island Golf Resort, which hosted the 2021 PGA Championship, to apply for sportsbook licenses.

In total, the proposed bill allows for the issuing of 12 mobile sportsbook operating permits, each of which comes with a price tag of $500,000 and would be valid for a period of three years.

Tax Revenue Earmarked for Education, Infrastructure Projects

A tax rate of 10% on a licensee’s gross adjusted income is also included in the bill, with 80% of tax revenues earmarked for use by the state’s Education lottery Account, which funds education programs statewide. The remaining revenue would be used for developing infrastructure projects, including roads and public buildings, as well as for use by government agencies providing mental health programs.

With the renewed bid to legalize sports betting in South Carolina still faces a long haul through the state legislature, sports bettors in the Palmetto State still enjoy alternatives when it comes to getting in on sports betting action. In addition to making the drive to a neighboring state where legal retail sportsbooks are already open for business, South Carolina sports bettors can continue to take advantage of services provided by long-established offshore sportsbooks offering mobile apps, many of which are qualified to be included among our reviews of top online sportsbooks.