South Carolina Real Money Online Gambling

To partake in casino gambling legally in South Carolina, you have to board a cruise ship to take you outside the state’s territorial waters, but there are signs of a will starting to emerge to loosen the state’s stance toward casino gambling. There is even talk of South Carolina moving into licensing online gambling sites, and even though that might be a few years away, it turns out that South Carolinians can already gamble online without anyone’s permission.

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South Carolina Online Gambling – An Introduction

South Carolina is not exactly a hotbed for real money gambling, being a state that has been very opposed to gambling throughout its history. Anti-gambling laws are democracy at its worst, there the will of the majority is used as a tool to seek to suppress and incriminate the decision for people to spend their own money on the particular forms of entertainment that they please. You want to gamble, your neighbors don’t want you to, and somehow they get to decide, just as if they were forcing you to buy a certain make of car and not buy the one you want.

This still is predominantly the case in South Carolina, where they use this blight on the founding principles of our country to enforce their religious beliefs upon others, by banding together and acting as a gang to beat up on those who disagree. The religious beliefs that inspire this abuse of political power remain well entrenched in certain states, and South Carolina is perhaps the nation’s capital for this, with their only real competition being from Utah, another state whose gambling laws are heavily laced with religion.

This is not to disparage anyone’s religious beliefs, and if someone believes that gambling is a sin, it is their right and privilege to abstain, but when this becomes an effort to use their religion to persecute non-believers, and the law co-operates in this persecution, that’s simply a travesty of reason and justice.

For those who disagree with the fact that the majority should be able to tell us how we should spend our own money, we will show you how you may stick your tongue out at these people with impunity and enjoy all the gambling you wish, even living in South Carolina.

History of Gambling in South Carolina

South Carolina Online Casinos and SlotsSouth Carolina has been against gambling since the 18th century, when they became a state and one of their first laws was to ban it. There hasn’t been much gambling going on in the state since. South Carolina’s history is one of gambling popping up and then the state acting to shut it down.

There were a few pari-mutuel tracks in operation in the 1930’s but the government ended up shutting them down. The 1990’s saw a number of video gambling machines rolled out in the state, taking in $3 billion a year, but they were shut down as well when a new governor got elected in 1998. He put it to a referendum, and the next year, the people said no and the answer remains no to this day.

To show how far South Carolina is willing to go to shut down all gambling in their state besides the state lottery, which has been running since 2002, in 2006 a poker game was busted up by the authorities. Normally the police only charge the operators, but not in South Carolina, as all 27 players at the game was arrested as well and taken to jail.

22 of the players plead guilty and paid the fine, but 5 players plead not guilty. In a case that lasted 3 ½ years, the circuit court overturned the conviction based on their view of poker being a game of skill, although there are no exemptions for this in the law.

South Carolina was having none of this, facing the horrors of a precedent allowing poker to be played for money, and appealed to the state supreme court, who overturned the decision in 2012. They ruled, correctly, that the criterion here wasn’t skill but something of value wagered upon the outcome of a game, but they should have just stated that state law does not allow exceptions at all to their general ban, ones based upon degrees of skill or anything else.

A 6 year fight in the courts to upheld the convictions of 5 poker players might seem to be ridiculously disproportionate, but that’s how against gambling South Carolina is, and if it took this long to exorcise this poker playing, that’s a small price to pay perhaps to fight the work of the devil that gambling is still widely seen as.

One judge ruled that South Carolina’s gambling laws are “vague and constitutionally overbroad,” but they really aren’t vague at all, but they are indeed overbroad, and unconstitutionally so, but this would have required that the case be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court, and the case just didn’t get that far. We would have loved to see this ridiculous law considered as a violation of the U.S. Constitution, but we never got the chance.

A bill was proposed in 2015 to relax gambling laws in the state, and even dared to mention online gambling, but this bill died an ignominious death before it ever had a chance to get off the ground. South Carolina is as backward a state as they come these days when it comes to welcoming gambling, and insist that their religious beliefs of the majority alone consist of a valid basis to invoke the power of the law, and even put these things up for a vote to decide.

South Carolina Key Facts

  • Abbreviation: SC
  • State Motto: Dum spiro spero (While I breathe, I hope); Animis opibusque parati (Prepared in mind and resources)
  • Capital City: Columbia
  • Largest City: Charleston
  • Population Estimate: 5.14 Million (23rd)
  • Website:

South Carolina Gambling Laws

South Carolina gambling laws stand in very stark contrast to states that take a progressive and enabling view of gambling, to a degree that some may find simply unbelievable in this day and age. To say that South Carolina’s laws are colored by the influence of religious beliefs would be quite an understatement in fact.

We can start with the fact that it is against South Carolina law to play any game on the Sabbath, and the Sabbath is the actual word used in the law and not Sunday. It might even be a defense that you are a Jew and observe the Sabbath on Saturday instead of Sunday, but this thought obviously did not occur to the framers of this law all those years ago, very long ago in fact, when we look at the examples of the games specifically prohibited.

South Carolina isn’t just worried that you’ll be gambling on “the Sabbath,”, as even playing checkers for fun, or Twister, or any game is clearly against the law in this state on this day. You are not to amuse yourself whatsoever by playing any game, and this is targeted specifically against homeowners by forbidding any game to be played “in his house,” or be subject to a fine of $50.

As long as it does not occur on the Sabbath, South Carolina does allow specific organizations such as clubs to allow the playing of games on their premises under specific standards, the biggest of which involve no betting or wagering whatsoever. The fact that this state has taken great pains to even define how bridge games for fun may proceed gives us further insight into just how “conservative” this state is, even making the prohibitions of some hard-core Muslim countries look tame in comparison. They may cane you for gambling, but they let you play games for fun all you want.

Luckily for South Carolinians, you can play checkers on other days of the week at home, but social gambling or any gambling is strictly out. This includes charitable gaming, and South Carolina is one of only 4 states in the country which does not allow this in some form, with the other three being Hawaii, Tennessee, and Utah, although Utah doesn’t allow any gambling whatsoever.

If not for the South Carolina Educational Lottery, South Carolina would not have any gambling either, and it is curious that you can buy lottery tickets on Sunday but aren’t allowed to play any other game, even for fun. While it is normally not that difficult to reconcile a state’s opposition to gambling and their offering a lottery in contrast to this, it is all the more difficult to resolve in this state, and while the state’s gambling laws look hideously outdated, they still apply in the same manner as when this law was last updated.

The current state gambling law was written all the way back in 1802, and mentions a number of games that people haven’t played for over a century or longer, although these games are just provided as examples and there’s no question on what this law says about gambling, and the answer is a clear no.

South Carolina forbids any sort of gambling and goes as far as to include among banned locations not only enclosed buildings but open fields, barns, streets, woods, and even outhouses as prohibited locations. If they feel the need to disallow gambling in outhouses specifically, that’s surely considering doing it anywhere, and they sought to take no chances in permitting the color of exemption.

You actually need a bona fide social relationship to play a game with anyone in this state, and given that betting at these games or having any financial relationship with the game is strictly prohibited, that’s as tight as you can get, save for just prohibiting playing any game with anyone under any circumstances.

They also specifically slam the door on betting on horses or sports, and betting on anything whatsoever in any location whatsoever other than buying lottery tickets is unquestionably excluded.

We therefore do not need to ponder any potential loopholes in this law, at least as it pertains to land-based gambling anyway, as this door is locked and bolted in a way that is even beyond the most prohibitive anti-gambling laws in other states. It’s possible to view laws against gambling interpretively, but when they use the word game, that is as broad as you can get.

Land-Based Gambling in South Carolina

This is usually a fairly long section where we touch on all of the land-based gambling that a state has, but there is only the lottery and a cruise ship that spares the territory of South Carolina from being denigrated by the sin of gambling, having to confine all gambling to international waters.

The Big M Casino has 2 casino ships that sail out of Myrtle Beach 6 days a week. They offer 400 slots, as well as blackjack, craps, roulette, let it ride, and 8 card poker. They serve sandwiches and offer occasional entertainment.

The South Carolina Educational Lottery is the only other option in the state, and this one you can actually play in South Carolina rather than just when you out to sea. The fact that they had to throw in the term “educational” in there to make it seem more palatable speaks to just how squeamish this state is toward gambling, as is the fact that the lottery is actually the only form of gambling this state allows within its borders.

There isn’t anything even on the horizon at this time to improve the situation in South Carolina in any quest toward modernization of gambling policies, and given that this state outlaws both charitable and social gambling, this speaks to the distance between where the mood of the state is now and where they need to be.

Those who are rooting for actual South Carolina casinos or even a place to play poker for money without risking arrest might take solace in the fact that, for a few short years, this state had slots spread all through the state, before they had a change of heart. It’s possible that their heart could change back to at least some improvement, although the dim view that many South Carolinians have toward gambling remains firmly entrenched in their religious beliefs.

  • List of Land Based Casinos in South Carolina
    The Big "M" Casino Ship II4491 Mineola Ave, Little River, SC 29566843-249-9811
    Carnival Cruise Port32 Washington St, Charleston, SC 29401800-764-7419

South Carolina Online Casinos & Slots Gambling

Needless to say, if you are on the far edge of gambling permissibility as South Carolina is, when you don’t even allow old ladies to play bridge for fun on Sunday, or require an existing social relationship between them to be allowed to play together at all, you will definitely be among the majority of states that do not allow online gambling.

There is absolutely no question that land-based online gambling is against the law in South Carolina, but online gambling is distinct enough to merit a close look even in states that seem to slam the door shut.

South Carolina’s gambling prohibitions starts out with “no person shall play” games of cards and dice, or any game that uses a gaming table, or any gaming device, and this closes the door to anything we would consider a casino or poker game. It’s not that you can’t just play these things for money, you can’t play them even for fun. They allow a few exceptions, backgammon, bowling, chess, and draughts, which you are allowed to play but of course can’t bet money on.

South Carolina also prohibits betting on elections, or to place bets at race tracks and with bookmakers takes care of betting on horses and sports. South Carolina has left no doubt to whether gambling in any form would be allowed, and they take no chances, even not letting you play these things for matchsticks.

Online gambling can be different though. It is a very open question whether online gambling by people in South Carolina would be gambling in South Carolina or elsewhere. This law is over 200 years old so it did not contemplate online gambling in the least, and when they tell you that you can’t gamble in a barn or a field or a kitchen or an outhouse, this presumes that the gambling will occur at these assorted locations.

South Carolina did a good job of listing possible places that gambling may occur, although they left out doing it underground, but gambling in other countries didn’t make the list. What if you instead sent a letter in the mail to Gibraltar with some money in it and instructions to place a bet on red? Would you be gambling in South Carolina?

We surely need to admit that this is materially different from placing a bet at a roulette table in the state as far as wondering where the gambling actually occurred. A better argument can be made to claim that it happened in Gibraltar than it happened in South Carolina, because it is only when the money arrives that the bet is made, and the location of where the game is actually played, not in the barn, even if you are playing online from a barn.

That is how real money online gambling works, and it’s like you sent your money ahead of time abroad and then play at their casino, remotely of course. There are even online casinos where you get a seat at a real table and have cards dealt to you and your bets placed for you by dealers, just as if you were there physically. The claim that the gambling took place there is therefore a strong one.

Whether or not real money online gambling is legal or not is therefore not so clear, even though if the state had their way, they would claim that their laws even make it a crime to play on play money casino sites. Perhaps this is seen as like a gateway drug to get you to try the harder stuff, the real money gambling, but in any case, none of this matters in practice.

South Carolina may be willing to bust up poker games and other operators but this gambling and its enforcement occurs in a different world than the one that real money online gambling occurs in. Law enforcement exists on the physical plane, where online gambling is on the virtual plane.

Any online gambling therefore occurs outside the view of the authorities, and if they can’t see you doing it, they can’t charge you with doing it. Some countries order their ISPs to take down gambling sites, which is the most that they can do to try to stop you, but these people just access the internet from outside the country through a VPN.

Those who may still be concerned about their state can do the same thing, where it wasn’t being looked at in the first place and there’s no technology to spy on us but if there ever were, they still could not ever do it.

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Future of Gambling in South Carolina

Sitting back and hoping that South Carolina will go from a prevailing view that gambling is a sin and only willing to look the other way for the sake of their educational lottery to anything resembling a gambling friendly state anytime soon seems like pretty wishful thinking.

The decision in these cases don’t really come from state legislators waking up one day and having a better understanding of how unfair and foolish anti-gambling laws are, or somehow coming to the realization that a certain type of gambling like sports betting or poker isn’t so bad after all.

It’s actually better that we do not have to rely on such things as real change could take decades. Instead, money makes this world go around, and it then becomes a matter of whether enough money can be made to outweigh their personal objections.

It isn’t just the amount of money involved, it’s more about how badly that it is needed, and it seems that South Carolina didn’t need all that money from the 1990s slots experiment, but times change. With their fiscal position taking such a big hit, this could serve to tilt the willingness of the state to relent, and may even relent in a surprisingly big way considering that to do so would benefit them so much more financially.

Given the general reluctance toward online gambling and land-based gambling as well for that matter among many states, and given South Carolina’s particularly heinous view of the matter, this state is near the very bottom of the list as far as the prospects for them even seriously entertaining the prospect of licensing and regulating online gambling in the near future.

While many players may prefer to play on sites that are approved by the state they live in, this is only an option if there are such opportunities, and if not, as is the case with this state, the other options stand unopposed. If you wish to gamble online in South Carolina, offshore operators are the only choice possible right now.

Fortunately though, there are some great options available to South Carolina gamblers that do not require the approval or intervention of the government of South Carolina, and we are happy to provide our expert recommendations here to those who wish to partake in these opportunities. As it turns out, South Carolina’s opinion on whether you should gamble online or not is simply not relevant, and all it takes is an awareness of this to set you free. Consider yourself free.

South Carolina Online Slots & Casinos FAQs
  • Why has South Carolina been so opposed to real money gambling for all these years?

    South Carolina is deep in the Bible Belt, and as far as how they use their religious beliefs as a weapon against gambling, they may even be considered the capital of it. They believe that gambling is a sin, and add to their assumption that gamblers go to hell with the added prospect of going to jail as well. Reform requires popular assent, and the public refuses to abide gambling except for the lottery.

  • How can the public have the power to persecute personal choices like this?

    Our laws are riddled with provisions that clearly deprive people of their liberty, which includes the liberty to spend our own money on whatever we choose, because it is ours. If the majority doesn’t want us to spend it on a certain thing, they may elect people to pass such laws and even vote on the matters directly, where they may arbitrarily decide to take our liberties away as they please.

  • Why isn’t gambling considered an enumerated right under the Constitution?

    The framers of the Constitution did mention certain rights and liberties specifically, freedom of speech for instance or the right to bear arms. Many of them are included in the principle of liberty itself, which things like gambling or any other activity that restricts our own personal decisions would fall under. This is to protect these liberties from being taken away merely based upon the majority arbitrarily denying us these rights.

  • Are South Carolina’s gaming laws unconstitutional?

    South Carolina would be the perfect state to use to seek to strike down a state’s gaming laws, since South Carolina’s are so overreaching. They not only tell people that they can’t gamble, but do not even allow gambling games for fun, and have restrictions on playing non-gambling games as well. The fourteenth amendment requires that depriving us of liberty needs to be justifiable, and popular opinion is clearly not a valid justification.

  • Does South Carolina really make it against the law to play games for fun as well as for money?

    Playing any game that is normally played for real money under any circumstances is against South Carolina law whether you play them for money or just for fun. This is simply bizarre and places this state at the extreme end of the persecution scale. Playing any game, gambling game or otherwise, on Sunday is illegal, and they even prescribe which games you can play on other days, and even require a prior social relationship to play them together.

  • Does South Carolina allow any sort of legal gambling?

    Land-based games of any sort are outlawed, as is any betting on sports or elections. South Carolina law very specifically outlaws lotteries, and while this is still on the books, they have created an exemption for themselves with their state lottery. Playing the lottery is the only legal land-based gambling available here. There are 2 cruise ships that have casino gambling on board, but the gambling can only occur in international waters.

  • What are the chances of South Carolina easing up anytime soon?

    South Carolina has a very long way to go in order to catch up to more permissive states, and need to start by rethinking their prohibiting non-gambling games for fun before they ever get to considering playing them for money. They even have managed to beat back the efforts of the state’s Indians and prevent them from opening casinos. If the financial need is great enough, South Carolina may be prompted to think more practically, but this is what it would take to promote much change.

  • Is online gambling against the law in South Carolina?

    South Carolina clearly bans all wagering in which the event takes place in South Carolina. They don’t have standing to ban real money gambling that occurs in other jurisdictions, where the actual gambling is found to be held elsewhere. A distinction like this does require some thought though and may be beyond the abilities of South Carolina courts, who have already demonstrated poor judicial interpretive skills in the past.

  • Why doesn’t it matter what South Carolina law says about online gambling?

    Chances are, the courts in this state would interpret the law too superficially to allow for a proper discussion of jurisdiction with online gambling, but we’ll never get to see this put to the test because it isn’t possible to ever catch anyone doing it. Online gambling occurs completely out of the view of state authorities, and they could threaten 40 lashes with a bull whip for online gambling and it wouldn’t make any difference if no one could ever be charged.

  • Where are South Carolinians to go in order to gamble online for real money?

    The number of real money online gambling sites that accept South Carolinians is a much smaller one than a few years ago, but there are still plenty of great ones out there, no matter which type of real money online gambling you prefer. It’s even more important now to ensure that you get the right advice, from experts such as ourselves, and this applies to those new to offshore online gambling as well as those who want to make sure they are playing at the best real money sites out there.


Chief Editor: Mike leverages his true passion for online gambling to create a uniquely informative site that takes players well beyond the standard fare in the industry.