Casino enthusiasts hoping for a proper gaming experience in South Carolina will be disappointed. The only rays of sunshine for gamblers are the casino boat options from Big M Casino. Legal betting options in South Carolina include a state lottery, horse race betting, and charitable gaming. On the other hand, casino gambling, online gambling, poker, dog racing, and social gaming are considered misdemeanors.
Considering the ratio, South Carolina is one of the least gambling-friendly states. There are no race tracks, pari-mutuel facilities, or off-track betting opportunities. The mere possession of gambling devices or tables is illegal. Out-of-state options are also scarce. Residents need to drive three to four hours to arrive at the nearest casino establishment in Western North Carolina, Harrah’s Cherokee.
The situation is even more peculiar because South Carolina has had a taste of gambling in various forms. It used to be one of the more forward-thinking states. It had tens of thousands of video lottery terminals and video poker machines, which raked in billions of dollars annually. Oddly, the machines were ruled as unconstitutional by the South Carolina Supreme Court and were eventually shut down in June of the year 2000.
Rumor has it that the decision was propagated by an incident where a baby suffocated while its mother was engrossed in a game of video poker. The tragic event turned public opinion against the machines. Whatever the case, South Carolina remains the only state to have dipped its toes in gambling waters and run away without looking back.
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Interesting State Facts
South Carolina may not be booming with casino activities, but it is still a tourist magnet for its beaches, historic districts, and golf courses. Myrtle Beach nestles in a 60-mile crescent of sandy shores on the South Carolina coast known as the Grand Strand. Over the past 2 decades, it has transformed into a premier tourist destination with luxurious resorts that tower over the city. Just off the coast, Hilton Head Island is another tourist hotspot attracting over 2 million visitors yearly.
South Carolina is shaped like a triangle, and it would take 21 South Carolinas to fill up Alaska. It was the 8th of the original 13 colonies to join the Union and is commonly referred to as the Palmetto state, after the official state tree of the same name.
South Carolina Gambling Venues
Bingo is permitted at charitable events, and one location is available on the Catawba tribal reservation.
At the Big M Casino, players can test their skills on table games like Blackjack, Craps, Three Card Poker, and Let it Ride. You can also try your luck on games of chance, including slots and roulette. The casino has two ships that sail from the Little River waterfront and includes a buffet and a bar. They sail out from the port into international waters three miles away. The minimum age to gamble on the ship is 21, and before boarding, passengers must present a valid photo ID for verification.
Social gambling is permitted when there is no real money or valuable assets involved, but gaming choices are very limited. Double Down Casino is the largest social casino option. Slotmania, Big Fish, and Zynga Poker are available for South Caroliners.
Residents and visitors should take precautions before engaging in any gambling venture. South Carolina’s gambling laws are so strict that any misstep could lead to paying large fines, prison time, or both.