The gambling outlook in South Carolina

In the heart of the American South, where tradition runs as deep as the roots of ancient oaks, South Carolina stands as a bastion of conservatism, especially when it comes to gambling. It's a state where the dice don't roll freely, and the cards are kept close to the chest.

South Carolina, with its sultry southern charm and genteel manners, might seem like the belle of the ball, but when it comes to gambling, she's more of a wallflower. The Palmetto State, named for its iconic tree, has always been a place where values are as steadfast as the tides that kiss its shores.

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📖 Published on: June 15th, 2023

✍️ Updated: 4 days ago

⏳ 22 mins read

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Gambling in South Carolina image
South Carolina coat of arms image

And just as those tides ebb and flow, so too does the debate on gambling. The state's history with gambling is a patchwork quilt of missed opportunities and tight-lipped decisions. The whispers of change are often drowned out by the louder voices of tradition. It's a dance as old as the Charleston, where progress takes two steps forward and tradition pulls it one step back. But beneath the surface, there's a simmering curiosity. The allure of the neon lights of Vegas and the jackpot chimes of slot machines are not lost on South Carolinians.

They've seen their neighbors, like the high-rolling Mississippi and the ever-adventurous New Jersey, cash in their chips and reap the rewards. Yet, South Carolina remains coy, batting her eyelashes at the idea but never fully committing. As Hill might quip, "She's playing hard to get, but every good gambler knows it's all about timing." In the world of gambling, South Carolina is the enigmatic player at the table, holding her cards close, leaving everyone guessing her next move. But as any seasoned gambler will tell you, the most exciting part of the game is the unpredictability, the thrill of the unknown. And in this game, South Carolina is the wild card everyone's watching.

South Carolina gambling laws and regulations

South Carolina's dance with gambling is less of a tango and more of a reserved waltz. The state's laws are tighter than a dealer's grip on a deck of cards, making it one of the most restrictive landscapes for gamblers in the USA. In the grand casino of American states, South Carolina is the poker-faced player, always playing it safe and never showing its hand. While other states have embraced the glitz and glamour of casinos, rolling the dice in hopes of a jackpot, South Carolina has been content to sit on the sidelines, watching with a cautious eye. It's not that the state doesn't understand the allure.

The bright lights of Vegas, the thrill of the craps table, the strategy of a poker game – they're all intoxicating in their own right. But South Carolina, with its deep-rooted traditions and conservative values, has always been wary of the siren song of gambling. As Hill might say, "It's like a seasoned gambler, always calculating the odds, never taking a risk without knowing the payout." The state's laws, some of which harken back to days when horse-drawn carriages were the primary mode of transportation, are a testament to its cautious approach.

They're as intricate as a well-played game of chess, each move calculated, each decision weighed carefully. And while some see these laws as outdated, others view them as a protective barrier, guarding the state against the potential pitfalls of unchecked gambling. In the end, South Carolina's relationship with gambling is a delicate dance, a balance between tradition and temptation. And as any gambler will tell you, it's not about the cards you're dealt, but how you play them. In this game, South Carolina is playing for the long haul, always mindful of the stakes.


What is considered as legal gambling


State lottery

In a state that keeps its secrets well-guarded, the lottery emerges as a beacon of hope and excitement. Since its inception in 2002, games like Powerball and Mega Millions have become the shining stars in South Carolina's otherwise dim gambling skyline.



It's the one place where raising your voice is not only allowed but celebrated. Licensed organizations breathe life into this game, infusing a touch of Sin City's glitz and glamor into local church halls and community centers.


Daily fantasy sports

Treading the fine line between chance and skill, DFS remains a contentious topic. Yet, major operators, sensing an opportunity, have boldly ventured into the Palmetto State, hoping to strike gold in this murky territory.


What is considered as illegal gambling



In the land of palmettos and southern charm, casinos are a rare breed. It's as if South Carolina has put up a 'No Entry' sign for Lady Luck herself.


Sports betting

Looking to place a wager on the big game? You might want to rethink that strategy. South Carolina isn't in the game, and it doesn't look like they're suiting up anytime soon.



Dreaming of a royal flush or going all-in? In South Carolina, those dreams are better left on the pillow. Whether you're a fan of Texas Hold'em or Omaha, the deck is stacked against you.


Horse racing

While other states might be off to the races, South Carolina is taking a leisurely stroll in the opposite direction. Here, the only galloping you'll witness is towards the sun-kissed shores, not the finish line.


Legal age to gamble in South Carolina

In South Carolina, the rite of passage into the world of gambling comes a tad earlier than one might expect. Once you've hit the age where you can cast a ballot and have your say in the nation's future, you're also granted the ticket to test your fortunes with the state lottery and bingo. So, when the candles on your birthday cake hit that sweet number of eighteen, you're in the game. Just remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Play wisely!

Real money casinos in South Carolina

In the sprawling tapestry of American gambling, each state paints its own picture, and South Carolina’s? Well, it's a study in contrasts. Picture this: a state steeped in history, where the echoes of the past reverberate in every corner, yet when it comes to the neon-lit world of casinos, it's as silent as a moonlit Southern night.

South Carolina, with its moss-draped oaks and antebellum charm, might seem like a place where high rollers and slot machines would find a home, but the reality is a different ball game. It's like walking into a saloon from the Wild West expecting a game of poker, only to find folks sipping sweet tea and discussing the weather.SC casinos

The Palmetto State's approach to real money casinos is akin to a tight-fisted gambler guarding his chips. While neighboring states have embraced the razzle-dazzle of the casino world, South Carolina remains the stoic player, cautiously observing the table but never diving into the game. But why such restraint in a country where the casino culture is as American as apple pie? Some say it's the state's deeply rooted traditions, while others argue it's a cautious approach to the pitfalls of gambling. Whatever the reason, in the high-stakes game of American gambling, South Carolina is playing its cards close to its chest, waiting for the right moment to make its move. And as any seasoned gambler will tell you, sometimes the most intriguing player at the table is the one who's hardest to read.


Online casinos

In the digital age, where the world's at our fingertips and borders blur in the realm of cyberspace, South Carolina stands firm, like a sentinel guarding its traditions. The global online casino wave might be sweeping nations, but here, it crashes against the steadfast walls of conservatism. Betting on online casinos in the Palmetto State? That's like betting against the house in blackjack – odds are, it's not in your favor.


Land-based casinos

In the vast expanse of South Carolina, with its sprawling plantations and sun-kissed beaches, one might expect to stumble upon a casino or two. But the reality? It's like hunting for that proverbial needle in the haystack. The glitz and glamor of slot machines and poker tables are tales from distant lands, not the local lore.


Tribal casinos

In many states, tribal lands are synonymous with casinos, a haven for those looking to try their luck. But in South Carolina, it's a different story. Tribal casinos here are as elusive as drawing a straight flush in a high-stakes poker game. The dice just don't roll that way in this neck of the woods.


Shipboard and floating casinos

For those with a thirst for gambling in South Carolina, there's a glimmer of hope on the horizon – or rather, the high seas. The state's waters hold the key. Casino boats, like modern-day pirate ships, sail into international waters, escaping the grasp of South Carolina's stringent laws. It's here, amidst the ebb and flow of the ocean, that gamblers can hear the sweet chime of slot machines and the whirl of the roulette.



Racinos, those hybrid havens of horse racing and casino games, might be the talk of the town in other states. But in South Carolina? It's a non-starter, like a racehorse that never left the gate. The thrill of the race combined with the allure of slots remains a distant dream for the residents of this state.


Off-track betting

In the vast world of gambling, off-track betting has its own unique allure. The thrill of wagering on a distant race, the anticipation as you watch the simulcast, waiting for your chosen steed to cross the finish line. But in South Carolina? Well, let's just say you'd have better odds of finding a unicorn at the Kentucky Derby.

Including simulcast racing? Dream on. It's a tantalizing thought, but the reality is starkly different. In the Palmetto State, the only tracks you'll be betting on are the catchy tunes playing on the radio. So, for those yearning for the adrenaline rush of a photo finish, you might have to settle for the top 40 countdown instead. It's a different kind of race, one where the stakes are your musical tastes and not your wallet.

Nearest land based casinos

We've compiled a list of the most trusted land-based casinos if you're searching for "South Carolina casinos near me":

Big M Casino, The
Big M Casino in Little River, South Carolina, sails two ships with a U.S. registry that offer gaming fun to players 21 and older. The Big M Casino Ship I and II depart from the Little River waterfront with optional buffet and cash bar. On Tuesday through Sunday, Ship II AM sails from 11:00am to 4:30pm and the Ship II PM from 6:30pm to 11:30pm. Prices vary per cruise, ranging from $20 to $30 on Saturdays, and all port charges are included. Plus, parking is free. Live entertainment is offered on select cruises. So get ready to enjoy a memorable night of gaming on the Big M Casino ships!
4491 Mineola Ave, Little River, SC 29566
Phone Number:
(843) 249-9811
Reset Map

Sports betting

In the grand arena of American pastimes, sports reign supreme. From the roar of the crowd at a football game to the suspenseful silence of a basketball free throw, it's a nation captivated by athletic prowess. And where there's sports, there's usually betting – the sidekick that amplifies the thrill. But in South Carolina? The playbook tells a different story.

The Palmetto State seems to be sitting on the sidelines when it comes to sports betting. While neighboring states are drawing up plays and setting up sportsbooks, South Carolina is content being a spectator. It's like a star quarterback waiting for the perfect moment to throw a Hail Mary. But for now, that game-winning pass remains in the future. South Carolina's not ready to play ball with sports betting. The odds? Well, let's just say it's a long shot. But as any seasoned bettor knows, the game's not over till the final whistle.

Social casinos

In the vibrant tapestry of the gambling world, social casinos shimmer like a quirky, colorful patch. They offer a taste of the casino experience, minus the high stakes and the palpable tension. For South Carolina, a state that's always danced to its own tune when it comes to gambling, social casinos offer a sweet compromise.SC social casinos

Imagine the thrill of hitting the jackpot, the exhilaration of a winning streak, all without the weight of real money on the line. That's the allure of social casinos. In a state where the doors to traditional gambling venues remain firmly shut, these virtual platforms swing wide open, welcoming all with open arms. It's like having a carnival in your pocket, where the rides never stop, and the tickets are always free.

In the Palmetto State, where real chips and cash bets are off the table, virtual coins and leaderboard bragging rights take center stage. It's a playground for those who love the game but not the gamble. Social casinos in South Carolina? Think of it as the state's way of rolling out the red carpet but with a twist. Here, it's all fun and games, without the dollar signs, and everyone's invited to the party.

Daily fantasy sports

In the ever-evolving landscape of gambling and sports, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) has burst onto the scene like a rookie with something to prove. It's fresh, it's dynamic, and it's changing the way we engage with our favorite sports. And South Carolina, despite its traditionally cautious stance on gambling, seems to be warming up to this newcomer.

DFS isn't your grandfather's betting game. It's a blend of strategy, knowledge, and a dash of luck, much like assembling a dream team and watching it play out in real time. In a state that often looks back to tradition, embracing DFS is akin to nodding at the future, acknowledging the changing tides of entertainment.

While other forms of gambling might be met with skepticism in the Palmetto State, DFS finds its footing on the premise of skill. After all, it's not just about chance; it's about making informed decisions, understanding player stats, and predicting outcomes. And South Carolina seems to get that.

So, while the state might be hesitant to dive headfirst into the deep waters of gambling, with DFS, it's testing the waters, one toe at a time. The message? While they might be cautious, they're not entirely out of the game.


Ah, Bingo! A game that transcends generations, from bustling community halls to quiet retirement homes. It's a symphony of numbers, where anticipation hangs thick in the air, and the thrill of shouting "Bingo!" is unparalleled. In the intricate dance of South Carolina's gambling scene, Bingo stands out, not as a wallflower, but as the life of the party.

In a state where many gambling avenues find themselves at a crossroads, Bingo has carved out its own lane. It's the old faithful of the gaming world, a testament to simpler times when joy was found in daubers and paper cards. But don't let its age-old charm fool you; in South Carolina, Bingo is more than just a pastime—it's an institution.

While other games might be shrouded in controversy or tangled in legal red tape, Bingo shines bright, embraced by communities, and sanctioned by the state. It's the wildcard in South Carolina's deck, a game that, against all odds, has found its niche and thrived.

So, whether it's a charitable event, a community gathering, or just a fun evening out, Bingo remains a beacon of light in the Palmetto State's gambling landscape. It's proof that sometimes, the classics never go out of style.


Poker is the quintessential game of bluffs, bets, and bravado. A game where fortunes can change with a single card, and where the player's mettle is tested as much as their luck. But in South Carolina, this iconic game finds itself in a peculiar position.

In the heart of the American South, where tales of high-stakes card games and riverboat gamblers are the stuff of legends, one might expect poker tables to be as common as sweet tea on a summer day. Yet, the reality is starkly different. Here, the green felt tables and the tantalizing sound of chips clinking are conspicuously absent from the mainstream.

It's not that South Carolinians don't appreciate the game. On the contrary, poker has its place in family gatherings and friendly get-togethers. But when it comes to the big leagues, the state draws a hard line. The risks, it seems, outweigh the rewards.

In a place where tradition holds sway and caution is the name of the game, poker finds itself on the back foot. The high stakes, the blurred line between skill and chance, and the potential pitfalls of the game have made it a hot potato in legal circles.

So, while you might spot a poker face or two at a family reunion, don't expect to see them in the glitzy settings of a casino. In South Carolina, when it comes to poker, the deck is stacked, and the stakes? Well, they're just too high.

Gambling tips

Navigating the world of gambling in South Carolina is akin to walking a tightrope. It's a delicate balance of knowing the rules, understanding the risks, and playing it smart. And in a state where the gambling landscape is as unpredictable as a roll of the dice, having a few aces up your sleeve can make all the difference.

First and foremost, knowledge is power. Before diving into any game, be it a friendly round of poker or a spirited game of bingo, arm yourself with information. Know the rules, understand the odds, and be aware of the state's stance on the game.

Remember, in South Carolina, not all games are created equal. While some, like bingo, find favor and flourish, others, like poker, tread on thin ice. It's essential to know where you stand before placing your bets.

Risk management is the name of the game. Always set a budget and stick to it. It's easy to get swept up in the excitement, but remember, the house always has the edge. Play smart, play safe, and know when to walk away.

Lastly, while the thrill of the gamble is undeniable, it's essential to keep things in perspective. Gambling should be a source of entertainment, not stress. So, in the words of the timeless adage, know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. In the Palmetto State, it's always best to stick to the straight and narrow, playing by the book, and ensuring that the only thing you gamble is your money, not your well-being.

The history

South Carolina's tryst with gambling is a tale as old as time, reminiscent of an old ballad sung on a porch during a sultry southern evening. It's a narrative filled with passion, caution and a touch of nostalgia. From clandestine card games in the backrooms of taverns to the state-sanctioned lottery, the Palmetto State has seen it all. Yet, through the ages, it's been a dance of two steps forward and one step back. The state's conservative ethos often clashed with the allure of easy money and the thrill of the gamble. It's a history of highs, where hope soared, lows, where dreams were dashed, and a lingering sentiment of what might have been.


The future

Peering into the crystal ball to predict the future of gambling in South Carolina is no easy feat. The state, with its rich history and deep-rooted traditions, is often a wild card in the deck of American gambling. While whispers of change rustle through the palmettos, the path forward remains shrouded in mystery. The state's conservative roots, entrenched in its very soil, suggest that any shift towards a more liberal gambling stance will be a slow and deliberate process. But as any gambler knows, the future is as unpredictable as a roll of the dice. And while the next chapter of South Carolina's gambling story remains unwritten, one thing's for certain: it promises to be a page-turner.

Responsible gaming in South Carolina

Life, much like a game of cards, is all about playing the hand you're dealt. And in the realm of gambling, where fortunes can change in the blink of an eye, it's paramount to play with both strategy and restraint. South Carolina, with its cautious approach to gambling, underscores the importance of responsible gaming. Whether you're scratching off a lottery ticket, calling out numbers in bingo, or placing a friendly wager, the golden rule remains: never bite off more than you can chew. It's essential to keep a level head, to know your limits, and to recognize when it's time to walk away. Because in the grand casino of life, the most valuable chip is wisdom. And the best bet? It's always the one made with both heart and head.


What is the legality of online gambling in South Carolina?

Online gambling is not legalized in South Carolina. The state has not embraced the global online casino trend.

How does South Carolina regulate online gambling sites?

South Carolina does not have a framework for regulating online gambling sites as online gambling is not permitted in the state.

Can I use a VPN to gamble online from South Carolina?

The information gathered does not specifically address the use of VPNs for online gambling in South Carolina. However, using a VPN to access online gambling sites from jurisdictions where it's illegal can carry risks and potential legal consequences.

Are there any legal online casinos in South Carolina?

No, there are no legal online casinos in South Carolina. The state has not bought into the online casino craze.

Katarina Oakshore
Editor | Casinos and Gambling

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