South Carolina Casinos & Gambling

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If you know anything about the South and their Conservative nature, it goes without saying that there are not many gambling options. In fact, to say that there are not many gambling options is an understatement. There are absolutely no ways by which you can pursue casino-style gambling in the state of South Carolina.

In the state of South Carolina there are no casino-style gambling options on land. With that being said, the overall gambling landscape is arguably the second-worst in the country, behind Utah. The following few sections will discuss how gambling exists in the state of South Carolina.

South Carolina Casinos

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Gambling in South Carolina

South Carolina gambling laws are very restrictive, as the idea of allowing more forms of real money gaming within the Palmetto State has never been popular among the local politicians. The only regulated form of gambling available to South Carolina residents is the state-controlled lottery.

Casino games and pari-mutuel games are illegal. Fortunately, South Carolina doesn’t have any dedicated iGaming laws, so the local gambling enthusiasts are still essentially free to play their favorite games using offshore gaming sites.


In South Carolina there are technically no casinos. With that being said, the expansive coastline of the state offers a boatload of water-based gambling options. This is the case in that there are a number of cruises that make their way out into international waters and are then allowed to offer any type of casino game they would like.

Once you are a certain distance into the ocean, the laws that govern South Carolina are no longer in play. This means that even though casino-style gambling is illegal in South Carolina, it is completely legal once you are sailing the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, apart from gambling on the open ocean there are absolutely no gambling options in the state.

South Carolina Casino History

From the first day that South Carolina had laws, all types of gambling were outlawed. Nowadays, any type of gambling that involves cards, dice, or any combination of the two is deemed to be illegal. Even cash games, like cash poker games between friends, are illegal if there are real money prizes.

The way the law is worded prevents just about any type of gambling from sliding through the cracks. Even in states like North Dakota, there are laws preventing casino-style gambling, but the existence of tribal casinos somewhat augments that. In South Carolina, even the prospect of tribal gaming is something that has barely even been considered. Since the early 1990s, native tribes have been trying to get any sort of gambling going, but have been blocked each and every time. In 1993, for example, there was an effort to push for the legalization of high-stakes bingo games, but this was quickly done away with. There are some bingo games able to be played, however they are all played at private venues and the state places strict restrictions on the amount of money that can be played for.

Even the water-based, mobile casinos that make their way into the Atlantic Ocean could not stay out of the firing line. In 2008, there was an effort on the part of coastal counties to have the casino boats that docked in these counties banned. Though the ban was almost successful, it ended up being thrown out.

If you are looking for any form of gambling whatsoever, there is a state lottery. To put in perspective just how far behind the times South Carolina is with regard to their offering of gambling options, the state lottery was only made available in 2001. In many other states, a lottery had existed for well over 20 years.