Lawmakers in South Carolina have introduced bipartisan legislation to bring sports betting to the Palmetto State.
House Bill 5277, sponsored by state Reps. William Herbkersman, a Republican, and J. Todd Rutherford, a Democrat, has been sent to the House Judiciary Committee for review.
What Sports Betting In South Carolina Could Look Like
HB 5277 is an aggressive piece of legislation covering all sides. Among its provisions:
- Allows for sports betting on professional and collegiate sports, including in-state collegiate events;
- Specifically bars horse racing;
- Calls for a minimum of eight, but a maximum of 12 sportsbook apps. These apps must be tethered to an in-state entity;
- Taxes profits, or adjusted gross income, at a 10% rate;
- Does not include bonus payouts as part of income;
- Allows for cryptocurrency payouts.
The South Carolina Legislature is set to adjourn on May 12, so if it is to be enacted lawmakers must move fast.
Support For Sports Betting Grows, Albeit Slowly
This is not the first attempt at sports betting in South Carolina.
Last year, Rutherford introduced House Joint Resolution 3395, which is similar in nature to this year’s bill but it did allow for horse racing.
Rutherford was hopeful the success of sports betting elsewhere would spur action on the first bill. He told a local television station earlier this year that he wanted to reap the benefits other states were seeing in his own community.
“You have major corporations, MGM, Caesars, that want sports betting to come [to South Carolina],” Rutherford told WCNC-TV. “I think that’s going to drive the needle and move the needle towards more progression and more freedom.”
That bill, however, has languished in the Judiciary Committee as well.
Sports Betting Could Be A Campaign Issue In The Fall
Joe Cunningham, a Democrat running for governor, has come out in support of sports betting.
“Legalizing sports betting would allow our state to fix real problems and create good-paying jobs without raising a single cent in taxes,” he said in a statement posted to his campaign website in February.
Cunningham faces off against several other candidates in the June 2022 Democratic primary. Should he win, he would challenge incumbent Governor Henry McMaster, a Republican, in the general election in November. McMaster has opposed sports betting in the past.