Question of SC Sports Legalization to be Delayed

Although he is happy with a recent landmark United States Supreme Court decision legalizing gambling on the state level, South Carolina House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford is disappointed that the ruling did not come down just a little bit earlier.


During the past legislative session, Rutherford was the sponsor of a bill that would have prepared the state to jump on this opportunity now open due to the Supreme Court ruling. The bill would have allowed legalized betting on sports and horse racing in an effort to generate more tax revenue to be used on state services. However, because the state legislature adjourned last week prior to Monday’s Supreme Court ruling, the bill will be forced to wait until January to be considered. According to Rutherford, the timing is unfortunate as it will allow other states to get a foothold in that market prior to South Carolina being able to launch its own plan.


In anticipation of the ruling, at least 20 other states passed legislation of their own so that they could act as soon as the decision came down. Although there is almost certain to be lost tax revenue because of the delay, South Carolina will also be in the favorable position to learn from the mistakes and successes of states that implement the legalized betting more quickly.


Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, a firm that tracks betting laws, predicts that legal sports gambling will be offered in about 32 states within the next five years. These numbers come from research into what individual states have done to prepare for the possibility of this legalization. The firm believes that neighboring North Carolina is best prepared to move in that direction, followed shortly by Georgia, leaving South Carolina behind the curve should they choose to go this route.