South Carolina’s legislative session is underway, and one lawmaker filed a bill this week that would legalize sports betting in the Palmetto State.
WCNC TV reported that South Carolina Representative Todd Rutherford introduced the bill Monday, a day after Super Bowl 56 produced massive betting handles for states across the country. Legal sports betting is now available in 30 states and the District of Columbia.
Bill 3395 specifically mentions “sports betting on professional sports” and it also includes provisions for pari-mutuel betting on horse racing, casino activities such as dice and card games, and games of chance involving the use of electronic devices or gaming tables.
With lawmakers seeing the impact of online sports betting in other states, Rutherford believes there is ample bipartisan support for the bill this year.
“You have major corporations, MGM, Caesars, that want sports betting to come (to South Carolina),” the Democrat said. “I think that’s going to drive the needle and move the needle towards more progression and more freedom.”
Proponents of Bill 3395 have estimated that legal sports betting will put $40 million in the state’s coffers each year. Under Rutherford’s proposal, South Carolina would use the revenue “for highway, road, and bridge maintenance, construction, and repair” per the language in the bill.
Keeping Tabs On North Carolina And Georgia
Last week, South Carolina Gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham, a Democrat, said mobile sports betting should be available in the state.
“It is time to give South Carolinians the same freedom people in 30 other states enjoy and finally legalize sports betting,” Cunningham 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,” he added. “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.”
Across the state line in North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper endorsed mobile sports betting in his state earlier this month.
“I think it is about time for us to step up and do it,” Cooper, a Democrat, told the ACC Now podcast. “It’s here whether we like it or not. The issue is will North Carolina try to be on the cutting edge for the technology jobs and other employment that it will create, and plus be able to get state taxpayers their cut, or are we just going to let it happen all around us?”
Georgia is also considering new legislation that would put the issue of legal sports betting before voters in a state referendum.
“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,” Cunningham said. “Legalizing sports betting would allow our state to fix real problems and create good-paying jobs without raising a single cent in taxes.”