Legislator Begins SC Sports Betting Push For 2023


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SC sports betting

State lawmakers are once again attempting to legalize SC sports betting in 2023.

House minority leader J. Todd Rutherford this month prefiled a proposed constitutional amendment that would bring the question of legalizing sports betting, along with casino gambling and parimutuel horse race betting before South Carolina voters during the 2023 state election.

Rutherford is among several lawmakers who’ve attempted to legalize South Carolina sports betting in the past, though their efforts have not gone far, as the threat of a veto from Gov. Henry McMaster has long stood in the way.

Bypassing Gov. McMaster?

Unlike last year’s attempt to legalize sports betting, Rutherford’s latest bill would not need approval from McMaster, who was re-elected in November and has assailed gambling as an affront to his state’s core values.

Proposed constitutional amendments instead require passage from two-thirds of each legislative chamber before a majority of ‘yes’ votes from South Carolinians in November 2023. Until the colossal failure of a California measure a month ago, every state to bring sports betting to a ballot vote passed it.

It is worth noting, however, that previous attempts to bring sports betting to South Carolina’s ballot did not go far either.

Only a few Southern states have legalized mobile sports betting. Mobile wagering is legal in Virginia, Tennessee and Louisiana.

No SC sports betting tax rate or operator limit

Rutherford’s proposal does not specify a tax rate or limit on number of operators, but last year Rutherford proposed up to a dozen sportsbooks taxed at 10% apiece.

The bill also makes no mention of betting on collegiate sports, which was a hot-button issue in neighboring North Carolina‘s failed attempt to expand sports betting beyond casino-only earlier this year.

It is currently pending with the House Judiciary committee and the earliest it can move is Jan. 10, when the legislature convenes for 2023.



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