Sports betting to be discussed on 2023 South Carolina agenda

Another legislative process to bring sports betting and gambling to South Carolina has been filed and will be discussed in 2023.
Image: Jamie Lamor Thompson/Shutterstock

Another legislative process to bring sports betting and gambling to South Carolina is underway, after a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution was filed last week.

On December 8, House Minority Leader Rep. Todd Rutherford (D) filed House Joint Resolution 3095 was filed to the Palmetto State’s House Judiciary Committee. If passed, the gambling activities of sports betting, pari-mutuel betting, and casino gaming would be put on the next ballot for voters to consider.

Rutherford has requested the following to be added to the state’s constitution:

“Section 16. The General Assembly by law may provide in specified areas of the State for the conduct of gambling and gaming activities on which bets are made to include pari-mutuel betting on horse racing, sports betting on professional sports, casino activities, such as card and dice games where the skill of the player is involved in the outcome, and games of chance with the use of electronic devices or gaming tables, all of which strictly must be regulated and may be conducted in one location or in separate locations within the specified area, with the revenue realized by the State and local jurisdictions to be used for highway, road, and bridge maintenance, construction, and repair.”

The H3095 amendment must be passed by South Carolina’s House and Senate before it is ratified and put in front of Gov. Henry McMaster (R), before going to the ballot to be voted on by the public.

Rutherford’s amendment does not mention a tax rate for gambling in the state, only that the revenue raised would be used “for highway, road, and bridge maintenance, construction, and repair”.

H3095 also doesn’t mention if wagering on college sports would be legalized, despite the state being home to Clemson University and the University of South Carolina.

South Carolina’s 2023 regular legislative session begins on January 10 and adjourns on March 27.

Sports betting has been operational in neighboring North Carolina since March 2021 at the state’s three tribal casinos – Catawba Two Kings Casino, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River.

Rutherford has also been a part of previous sports betting bills for South Carolina, House Bill 5277 in April 2022 for online and retail sports betting, and HB 3395 in 2020, which also attempted to legalize sports wagering through a constitutional amendment.