USAfriendlyPokerSites.com

South Carolina Online Poker Laws

South CarolinaSouth Carolina is one of the most conservative states when it comes to gambling. There are very few options for legal gambling within the state of South Carolina. In fact, about the only choice for gambling in the state of South Carolina is charitable bingo. South Carolina has made no effort to address the online poker trend, so it is unclear if online poker is legal within the state.

Can Players From South Carolina Play Poker Online?

Yes! Online poker in South Carolina is very popular because the state’s residents have very few choices for gambling at land based venues. Several choices are available when it comes to playing poker online. There are quite a few USA poker sites, and all of these sites also accept players from South Carolina.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in South Carolina?

South Carolina has a lot of laws pertaining to gambling, but most of these laws pertain to lotteries. The gambling laws of South Carolina have not been updated in many years. Reading the laws of South Carolina in reference to gambling leaves more questions than answers when it comes to the legality of online gambling. We have an overview of some of the South Carolina laws that may pertain to online gambling below:

South Carolina takes illegal gambling seriously. The law is very lengthy and detailed, but the gest of it is that you are not allowed to participate in unlawful gambling games. (Section 16-19-40) This section goes on to state that if you are convicted of this crime you will be imprisoned for no more than thirty days and face a fine up to $100. The penalty for persons housing illegal gambling are much more severe. If convicted of housing an illegal gambling event you can be imprisoned for up to twelve months and face up to a $2,000 fine for each event.

Poker is not specifically mentioned in South Carolina statutes, but it may fall under any game with cards or dice that is mentioned as being illegal in the definition of unlawful gambling.

Social poker games at home seem to be acceptable as long as no one is taking a rake from the game. This was clarified by the State Supreme Court in 2010:

It is our position that this statute does not encompass the Friday night poker game or the penny ante poker game.

Bingo is the only charitable gambling legalized in the state.

The section of South Carolina law that describes unlawful gambling is very lengthy. We encourage you to read it yourself. [1] We are not professionals on the laws of South Carolina. We can’t tell you if it is legal or illegal to play poker online in South Carolina. We encourage you to consult an attorney if you are concerned about the legality of playing poke online in South Carolina.

South Carolina Gambling History

As we mentioned earlier, South Carolina is one of the most conservative states when it comes to gambling. The state has long battled against illegal gambling that continues to go on today. In the early days of South Carolina gambling was common in the saloons. It was illegal, but there was little to no law enforcement.

The state of South Carolina began cracking down on illegal gambling in the mid 1900’s, but it was an uphill battle. By this time, many video machines were already in place around the state. Law enforcement started seizing these machines and fining the owners, but the owners of the machines appealed the decision all the way to the Supreme Court.

In 1998, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that video machines were legal under the current laws. This was a huge turning point for the owners of these machines. The state chose to stop trying to shut these establishments down and change legislation to tax these machines. [2]

South Carolina voters further extended their gambling options when they voted for the state lottery. The lottery funds are used to enhance education in the state. The lottery launched in 2002 and has been a huge success for South Carolina. [3]

South Carolina has a history of having gambling issues appealed to the State Supreme Court. In 2006, a weekly home poker game was raided by the police in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. This resulted in about 20 poker players being arrested. All but 5 of the players arrested agreed to a plea bargain and a fine, but the other 5 wanted their day in court. They kept appealing the decision all the way to the State Supreme Court.

The State Supreme Court heard the case in 2010, and the court ruled that they were not guilty. The position of the court stated It is our position that this statute does not encompass the Friday night poker game or the penny ante poker game. This was a huge victory for social poker players around the state. [4]

Bingo is the only charity gambling legalized within the state. Many people hoped that the ruling pertaining to home poker games would also pertain to charity poker tournaments, but that was not the case.

Gambling in South Carolina has had small victories over the years, but for the most part almost all gambling is illegal in South Carolina. If you are an avid gambler then South Carolina is not a friendly state for you to live in.

Legalized Gambling Options in South Carolina

South Carolina is one of the most conservative states we have found when it comes to gambling. There are very few options for legalized gambling in South Carolina. You can play home poker games, play the state lottery, play charity bingo, and play video machines around the state. These are the only options you have for gambling in South Carolina.

Will South Carolina Legalize Online Poker in the Future?

It is not likely that South Carolina will legalize online poker any time in the near future. We are talking about a state that as recently as 2010 was arresting people for playing home poker games. There have been small strides in the past few years in regards to legalizing some forms of gambling in South Carolina, but almost all legalization has been the result of a court case that has been taken to the State Supreme Court.

References:

  1. Jump up ^ South Carolina Gambling Statutes
  2. Jump up ^ SC Supreme Court Rules Video Machines Legal
  3. Jump up ^ South Carolina State Lottery
  4. Jump up ^ South Carolina Home Poker Games
☰ MENU