To engage in any form of legal gambling means to leave the state of South Carolina. The lone exception is the South Carolina Education Lottery, but that is it. There are no casinos, no bingo halls, no gaming facilities of any kind. There are casino ships that will travel out into the Atlantic Ocean and allow passengers to gamble once they were far enough outside the state’s jurisdiction, but that is it.
Is there some light at the end of the betting-less tunnel? It is possible. Some legislation was introduced in December 2020 to amend the state constitution to allow casinos, including sportsbooks. If things progress, it would be put to a vote in the November election in 2021. Voters would be able to have a say.
For a highly conservative state like South Carolina, getting a referendum to the ballot would be a win in and of itself. Getting a vote passed would be an altogether different challenge, but states are facing significant budget shortfalls from COVID-19 and each and every one of them needs money.
South Carolina is no different. As mentioned, the lottery goes to fund education, but there have been consistent construction projects to improve roads and byways and there are infrastructure needs all across the state. South Carolina’s population continues to increase and there are plenty of areas that need improvement.
However, it is still a long shot for sports betting to even make it to a vote. Governor Henry McMaster won reelection and opposes betting. The only hope might be for a border state like Georgia or North Carolina to approve online and mobile wagering. North Carolina has approved retail betting at two Harrah’s properties on East Cherokee Native American land up in the Smoky Mountains, but those are too far from population centers to be a major factor.
Georgia could move forward. If it does, South Carolina would lose a lot of money to the Peach State, as the capital of Columbia is only about 70 minutes from the Georgia border down I-20.
That seems like the only hope right now for the Palmetto State and interested bettors. Frankly, casinos are even a long shot, let alone sports betting.
You don’t. And you can’t even bet on mobile devices or online in North Carolina or Georgia. Perhaps Tennessee is a reasonable drive, especially when following the Gamecocks to Vanderbilt or Knoxville. Otherwise, your only hope is up in the Smoky Mountains at the two tribal casinos in North Carolina.
Virginia could be an option for those heading up I-77 for one reason or another. Virginia is an all mobile and online sports betting state. Also one that approved a November vote in 2020 for casinos. Maybe that state can provide some hope during the legislative discussions, but Virginia is far more progressive on gambling issues than South Carolina.
Because it is the closest and most likely getaway destination for South Carolinians, we can look at Tennessee and what it has to offer. Tennessee is an all-mobile, all-online state for sports betting because there are no brick-and-mortar gaming facilities. Tennessee officially launched sports betting on November 1, 2020, but it did take a while to get going after it was legalized.
Tennessee is a Remote Registration state, which means that you can sign up for a sports betting account from anywhere. You just have to be physically located in the state when making a deposit or placing a bet.
Taking a trip to Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg? Following the Gamecocks to Knoxville or Nashville? You’ll be able to bet on sports in all of those bets.
Charlotte, North Carolina is about two hours north of Columbia and just 15 minutes from Rock Hill. Another hour and a half or so beyond that is Virginia. It’s a straight shot up I-77 through Charlotte and up into VA.
Like Tennessee, Virginia is a Remote Registration state, so you can sign up from anywhere. You just need to physically be in Virginia to make a deposit and place bets. Anywhere in Virginia. Not a specific city or anything like that. Virginia will be opening casinos, but like Tennessee, it is an all-mobile, all-online state for sports betting.
None of these are accessible in South Carolina, unfortunately, but these are some of the sportsbooks you will find in Tennessee and Virginia. With any luck, some of these will be coming to Georgia soon to make things easier and more convenient.
BetMGM Sportsbook is likely a name that Palmetto Staters know, even without as much exposure to gambling as others. MGM is known around the world as a premier destination for all things gaming, but also beautiful casino and resort properties with some of the best restaurants in the business. Surely anybody that has gone to Las Vegas has experienced an MGM resort.
BetMGM Betting App offers a Welcome Bonus worth up to $500, with some states, like Tennessee and Virginia qualifying for a 100% Deposit Match Bonus up to that amount.
Daily fantasy sports are allowed in South Carolina, though they operate in something of a grey area where the state has never fully approved them. Out of sight, out of mind could apply here. With that, many South Carolinians are aware of DraftKings. The sportsbook side falls under the same company, but is an altogether different arm of the DraftKings name and requires a separate account.
DraftKings, along with BetMGM and FanDuel, launched on the first day in Tennessee. We can reasonably assume with a high degree of certainty that if Georgia got sports betting, DraftKings would be involved. Everybody will want a piece of the Atlanta market.
With fair odds and a large catalog of prop betting and futures betting odds, DraftKings offers a Welcome Bonus up to $1000 with a Risk-Free bet and a Deposit Match Bonus.
FanDuel Sportsbook would also be another familiar name for South Carolina sports fans because of its background in the DFS realm. FanDuel is an aesthetically-pleasing app with a sharp, sleek, professional look and a great layout. It is an excellent introductory sportsbook for those that are just starting out and one that relies heavily on brand loyalty to be the most successful sports betting company in the United States.
FanDuel offers a Risk-Free Bet up to $500 as a Welcome Bonus.
It would be easy to just leave this space blank. Discussions have started a few times and have gone nowhere. The COVID-19 pandemic could be the silver lining needed to get an expansion of gaming into a cash-strapped state like South Carolina, but traditionally other methods have been used first.
If you want to bet on sports and live in South Carolina, you’re simply going to have to travel to do it for the foreseeable future.