South Carolina Lawmakers Weigh Sports Betting
South Carolina lawmakers will have three gambling measures to consider when the legislative session convenes January 12. Two would propose a constitutional amendment to allow casino-style gaming and sports betting.
Three gambling measures have been pre-filed for the South Carolina legislative session that runs January 12 through May 13.
The first legislation, House Joint Resolution 3395, would propose an amendment to the state constitution to allow casino-style gambling and sports betting. HJR 3395 would earmark gambling tax revenue to be used for “highway, road and bridge maintenance, construction and repair.”
The second similar measure pre-filed in the Senate, Senate Joint Resolution 98, also would amend the state constitution to allow casino gambling. SJR 98 would use gambling tax revenue for “reducing the unfunded liabilities of the state’s retirement systems until the actuarially funded ratio equals or exceeds 90 percent, with any remaining funds deposited in the state’s general fund.” A referendum on gambling under either resolution would be held in November 2021.
Democrats introduced both measures. However, Republicans will control the Senate by a 30-16 majority and the House by 81-43 and the proposals would require bipartisan support.
The third measure, Senate Joint Resolution 67, would create a gambling study committee to make recommendations regarding legalizing gambling in the state. The study committee would look at “the social and financial costs and benefits of the various forms of gambling, including casinos, slots, table games, horse and dog racing, sports betting and internet gaming.” The committee is required to report its findings to the legislature on or before January 31, 2022.
A spokesperson for Governor Henry McMaster said McMaster believes gambling “flies in the face of everything South Carolina stands for.”