South Carolina gambling laws are some of the most restrictive in the nation. A new amendment proposal in the state legislature would address that and expand the definition of legal gaming in the state in a major way.
The amendment would give the state legislature clearance to regulate several forms of gambling not currently legal in South Carolina. It’s very early in the process, however, and its fate remains unclear.
South Carolina gambling expansion up for discussion
H 3095 is a resolution to place a potential amendment to the state’s constitution before voters. If approved, it would give the state legislature new powers in terms of gambling regulation. Specifically, the language of the amendment mentions governance over:
- Pari-mutuel wagering on horse races
- Sports betting on professional sports
- Casino gaming, including card and dice games plus slots
Furthermore, the proposal enables the legislature to decide where casinos would be in the state and specifies a purpose for new gaming tax revenues. According to the proposal, the new tax dollars would go to “highway, road, and bridge maintenance, construction, and repair.”
This is just the beginning of the process for this resolution. The South Carolina House has assigned it to the Committee on Judiciary for now.
The road to a vote in South Carolina
The South Carolina constitution specifies that proposed amendments to the document require 2/3 approval of both chambers of the legislature. From there, they proceed to a vote of the general population. A simple majority of that vote ratifies the amendment.
Thus, this resolution will see a lot of scrutiny before it would potentially become part of the state’s charter. In theory, though, it’s possible that South Carolinians could be voting on this measure in November 2024.
The resolution could see a lot of change in the meantime. Previous attempts to expand legal gambling have seen nothing but failure in South Carolina.
Recent gambling expansion attempts have gone nowhere
Earlier this year, two members of the South Carolina House sponsored a narrower bill that would have legalized online sports betting. That was the second such bill toward that end to surface in the South Carolina legislature in the past three years.
While those bills died in committee, the proximity of them and the language of this proposal suggests there is some momentum in South Carolina to expand gaming. This specific proposal would represent a rather robust expansion as well.