South Carolina is a dry state that once got its feet wet – more than wet, it cannonballed right in – making a splash as one of the more well-known gambling states in the nation. Now, the Palmetto State finds itself a desert with little back up being offered even by its neighbors. Players in the baron Southeast region find themselves taking to the sea’s to get their gambling action in on the state’s one casino cruise. But as we see attitudes in the region begin to shift – like with South Carolina’s northern neighbors, North Carolina – it’s a possibility that we see some very real change laying ahead. Only time will tell for South Carolina.
South Carolina Legal Gambling History
Although, it’s hard to believe now, South Carolina once had a booming video lottery terminal (VLT) industry that was bringing in billions. These machines popped up all over the state like wildfires, a real outbreak of Las Vegas casino-sized proportions. These VLT’s were placed in every nook and cranny: gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and bars. Wherever there was room.
It sounds odd for video lottery terminals to be so popular. This is because there was a loophole that allowed for these “video lottery terminals” to be video poker in disguise.
But like all good loopholes, they must find their closure at some point. In 1999, the state supreme court found the video lottery machines to be “unconstitutional”, dropping the guillotine on them just like that. The state gave vendors until 2000 to clear out the machines, at which point an era died and a new one began.
Since the golden age of VLT’s in South Carolina, the state has put forth some of the strictest gambling laws in the nation. In fact, South Carolina seems to hate gambling so much that they’ve even made it illegal to be found in possession of “gambling paraphernalia”.
When this extreme paranoia toward gambling began exactly is unclear. Although, there are instances that anti-gambling forces like to use as scapegoats. Such as the case of a South Carolina mother whose infant child suffocated while she was glued to a video lottery terminal. Obviously, more of a case of bad parenting than a bad gaming machine.
South Carolina Casino Cruise
The only form of legal casino gambling in the entire state of South Carolina is on the state’s one casino cruise ship, The Big “M” Casino. The yacht docks out of Myrtle Beach and offers players a variety of table games such as blackjack, roulette, craps, let it ride, three card poker, and a ride range of slots. Once the ship is 3 miles out into international waters, the games can begin.
South Carolina Legal Gambling FAQ’s
What can I legally bet on in the state of South Carolina?
Not much at the moment. These are the legal forms of gambling in SC:
- Casino Cruise with a variety of table games such as blackjack, roulette, craps, let it ride,
- Three card poker, and a ride range of slots.
- State Lottery.
- Charitable games such as bingo.
Will other forms of gambling ever come to South Carolina?
Not likely. But we can be helpful. As attitudes start to shift in the Southeastern region with states such as North Carolina, anything is a possibility. You can’t play DFS at this time either in the state.