South Carolina introduced a bill last year that would have amended the state’s constitution to allow SC sports betting on professional sports. The legislative session ended before a vote could be taken, but there is already excitement to push the bill forwarded in the upcoming session following the success of NJ sportsbooks in the 2018 NFL season.
SC House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford said he “absolutely will introduce” legislation again to legalize sports betting in the state. Rutherford went on to highlight illegal sports wagers and said, “Why not allow them to do legally what they’ve been doing illegally, but tax them on it?” Rutherford said.
Despite a ban on sports betting, South Carolina lawmakers understand that millions of dollars are wagered in the state each year. Senator Brad Hutto states that South Carolina’s sports betting ban is a “missed opportunity.” There is a group of Democratic lawmakers who supported legalized sports betting last year and will push for it once more when legislators reconvene next January.
The NFL’s Carolina Panthers, who reside in North Carolina, have considered moving some operations across state lines, and some believe sports betting could influence the team’s decision. Rep. John Hardister, the North Carolina House majority whip has a vested interest in the Panthers’ potential move and believes the team’s pending decision could have an impact on lawmakers. “I suspect we’ll get to work on (sports gambling legislation) when the legislature is back in session” said Hardister. The push to legalize sports betting continues as we head into 2019.