The Gambling Controversy In South Carolina
In America, there are dozens of states that have legalized sports betting, including California and Massachusetts. However, in total, only 18 states have legalized sports betting within their boundaries. South Carolina, though, is the lone state where online sports betting is legal.
Online sports betting is now available in South Carolina, but you must be a resident of this state. Until federal law changes, that is, when the NCAA decides to adopt sports betting into its governing protocols, all games will remain subject to the laws of the land regardless of whether they are played in a state or in a country. This means that betting on games that are played in one state (say, baseball) may require a purchase of tickets in another (NHL hockey season ticket, for example). So long as you are a resident in south Carolina, you can place bets on any game.
What’s the deal? Why is this such a big deal? In the spring of 2021, the NCAA will vote to increase the amount of money that can be taken in through television fees and ticket sales. If the increase is passed, college sports betting will take off. Will the governor and legislature to get it right by legalizing sports betting during the 2021 election? Some say yes; others say no.
The first legal sports bets will be placed on basketball games at the University of South Carolina – the Tarheels. In the fall of 2021, the NCAA will move basketball from the Southeastern Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference. If the ACC expands into one more division than the Atlantic Coast, which will be at least four teams instead of three, this could spark an expansion boom for the Atlantic Coast Conference. South Carolina and North Carolina are the conference’s two biggest markets, and with the new television contracts signed, this could be the perfect opportunity for the state’s two sports books to make their first legal sports bets.
The timing for the Gambling Commission to get this legalized is not yet known. A spokesman for the commission told the Post that the governor “is reviewing the proposal now and has directed staff to look into its implications for the universities”. However, he did not have any immediate timeline or timetable for action. The governor has also asked the U.S. House and Senate to pass a bill legalizing gambling and has asked the House to expedite the legislation.
For some members of the House and Senate, the timing for the Gambling Commission to act is important, especially if 2021 draws near and the Gambling Control Act is up for renewal. If nothing happens by then, they’ll lose the ability to enforce all the laws regulating the sport in the state, including the Gambling Control Act. For these members, the Gambling Commission not acting soon enough could jeopardize the three-year process of getting the new sports betting legislation through the state legislature.
For the two major casino groups, which operate in south Carolina, the Gambling Control Act isn’t the top priority. The Game Commission already has the power to ban state governments from running online casinos altogether, and it can also fine counties and municipalities that allow online wagering. For the two groups, the Gambling Commission’s inaction on the issue is tantamount to money being pulled out of the economy and leaving the state without the source of income from legally-regulated gambling. However, Steve Berry, the spokesperson for the Game Commission, tells the Post that the process of getting the new lottery law through the legislature “isn’t even in their thoughts”. He emphasized, “It’s too early to talk about that”.
It’s too early to make any predictions about the ultimate outcome of the new law, but there’s no doubt that online sports betting will become more popular in south Carolina. It’s already popular in the rest of the country, and online sports betting sites are springing up almost everywhere. Although there’s still a lot of work to be done, it looks like online sports betting will eventually dominate the industry. If it hasn’t already, online sportsbooks and gambling are headed for big changes in the near future. As long as the law exists, it’s up to the states to figure out how they want to regulate it.