South Carolina's sports betting hope for 2022 going out with a whimper
After an initial burst of momentum, South Carolina’s sports betting hopes for 2022 fizzled out without so much of a whimper.
South Carolina’s two-year legislative session will officially come to a close by the end of today without any discussion on a bill that would have legalized online and retail sports betting in the Palmetto State.
South Carolina sports betting goes nowhere
In April, Rep. William Herbkersman (R) introduced HB 5277 to legalize retail and online sports betting in South Carolina. Co-sponsored by Rep. Todd Rutherford (D), the bill allowed eight to 12 online sports betting platform operators, all of whom were required to partner with a state entity to operate. If it had been approved, professional sports franchises, facilities that host PGA Tour events, and promoters of a national association for stock car auto racing national touring race would have been eligible to apply for a sports betting license and partner with an operator.
The bill was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary after its introduction. It languished in committee for months and was never publicly discussed.
The bill would have set the state’s sports betting tax at 10% and would have allowed collegiate sports betting. In what would have been an interesting aspect of the law, Cryptocurrency and digital currency were both included as funding mechanisms for sports betting accounts. Sports bettors have been intrigued with the idea of Crypto or digital currency as a funding mechanism for years, but operators have been wary in certain circumstances to consider the options.
Two years, two sports betting bills
It’s the second year in a row state lawmakers introduced sports betting and for the bill go nowhere.
Rep. Rutherford co-sponsored and introduced HB 3395 in 2021, which called for the legalization of sports betting in the state through a constitutional amendment. The bill was short on details, not specifying if online sports betting would be legal or just retail betting, and it did not set a tax rate. It did earmark sports betting tax revenues for highway, road, and bridge maintenance.
The bill never came up for a vote and remained in the House Committee on Judiciary since early 2021.
Future of South Carolina sports betting?
Despite the failure to move the bill through committee, sports betting is clearly on the minds of South Carolina lawmakers. It’s likely that another law will be introduced in the state’s 2023 session.
2023 will also not be an election year, which has proved difficult for sports betting bills. Lawmakers up for election are wary of supporting “controversial” policies such as sports betting when they are angling for public support.