Casino Gambling in South Carolina

South Carolina Casino Guide

Facts About Gambling & Online Casinos in South Carolina

Don’t expect to do much in the way of gambling in land-based casinos in South Carolina. In fact, don’t expect to even be able to play poker for real money in your own house. It’s all illegal. Per Section 16-19-40, penalties for playing in an illegal game range from 30 days in jail to finds of up to $100. The only games the state lists as being legal to play, and this is just for fun, are Backgammon, Billiards/Pool, Bowling, Chess, Draughts, and Whist. If you’re a homeowner and you get caught hosting something like a poker game for cash, penalties range from jail sentences of up to a year and finds of up to $2,000.

With so many restrictive laws, you may be wondering if there’s any chance for gambling in South Carolina. There is the South Carolina Education Lottery. Scratch-off tickets and lotteries are legal. The only other option is to find an online casino, make sure it accepts players from South Carolina, and then play the slots, table games, and poker games online.

History of Gambling in South Carolina

The state’s lottery is relatively new. Legalized in 2002, the lottery’s revenues help fund educational programs in South Carolina. Since the first ticket was sold, more than $3 billion in revenues have been added to the education fund.

In 2000, South Carolina had more than 30,000 video poker machines in establishments around the state. The South Carolina Supreme Court decided that these machines were unconstitutional, they were seized that same year and removed permanently. Since then, gambling options in South Carolina are extremely limited. The state lottery is really all that players have left.

Age Restrictions for Gambling in South Carolina

To play in online casinos in South Carolina, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old. Those who are between the ages of 18 and 20 are welcome to purchase lottery tickets and scratch-offs.

South Carolina’s Casino Gambling Outlook

There is already a bit of a debate on the legality of what people are calling sweepstakes machines. Deciding these machines didn’t break any laws, more and more of the machines were popping up, so South Carolina banned them in 2013 and stores that had them have since lost their privilege to sell lottery tickets. One year later, voters were asked to decide if raffles should be legalized. That measure passed.

Despite raffles being the next legal form of gambling in South Carolina, it’s unlikely that the state will consider legalizing casinos in the near future. The state’s anti-casino policies seem set in stone.

Local Casinos

Without any casinos in South Carolina, your options for gambling are limited to online casinos that accept players from South Carolina or out-of-state casinos. One of the closest is over the state line in Cherokee, North Carolina. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is about 90 minutes from the South Carolina border and two hours from Greenville, SC.