South Carolina Gubernatorial Candidate Eyes Sports Betting

South Carolina sports betting could be a reality if one gubernatorial candidate has his way.

Joe Cunningham, a Democrat running for governor, said Thursday the Palmetto State should offer mobile sports betting. 

“It is time to give South Carolinians the same freedom people in 30 other states enjoy and finally legalize sports betting,” Cunningham, a former congressman, said in a statement posted to his campaign website. 

 “This is about freedom and generating new revenue for our state to tackle our biggest challenges. All of our neighboring states have either legalized sports betting or they are taking steps to do so, and South Carolina once again finds itself at an economic disadvantage.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said earlier this week he thinks it’s time to bring sports betting to the Tar Heel State. Georgia lawmakers are reportedly thinking of reintroducing legislation to bring about a referendum asking voters to approve sports betting. 

“I’m tired of letting North Carolina and Georgia reap the benefits of new industries because South Carolina politicians won’t get out of our way. Legalizing sports betting would allow our state to fix real problems and create good-paying jobs without raising a single cent in taxes,” Cunningham said. 

Sports Betting Already Happening Underground In SC

The only legal form of gambling allowed in South Carolina is the lottery. 

Cunningham estimates the state is losing about $40 million in tax revenue by not offering sports betting.  His statement did not offer specifics on how he thinks sports betting should be administered in the Palmetto State. But he argued since it’s likely happening illegally South Carolina should not turn a blind eye.

“The fact is sports betting is already happening in South Carolina; but it’s underground, unregulated, and brings in zero tax revenue for our state,” he said. 

“So we have two options: we can let the bookies run the entire industry and keep it underground with no tax revenue for our state, or we can bring it above board, regulate it, tax it, and fix problems with the money. This is a no-brainer.”

Cunningham is one of two Democrats running for the chance to face off against incumbent Governor Henry McMaster, a Republican. McMaster has said in the past he is opposed to sports betting. 

Also read: It’s Time For North Carolina Mobile Sports Betting, Gov. Cooper Says

About the Author
Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today with a focus on legislation and political content. Mary is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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