If you live in the Palmetto State, your options are limited when it comes to
Texas holdem poker, or any other form of gambling for that matter. This state
has a hard-line stance on gambling and as such there are only a few forms that
So, unless you live near the border, or have a load of frequent flyer miles
saved up, you’ll need to take up another hobby that has no connection to
gambling or wagering whatsoever. At least that is if you wish to stay in South
The only forms of gambling that are permitted in the state are lottery and
charity bingo games. Aside from this you can’t bet on anything legally, and if
you do so you could be in a lot of trouble with the authorities.
Even holding a poker home game will land you in hot water if you get caught.
This was dragged through the courts for all to see in the last few years. A
group of people who were running a home game were charged and convicted, only
for this to be overturned on appeal.
They argued that poker was a game of skill and thus exempt from the game of
chance laws that prohibit gambling. The state then appealed this decision again
and won, with the original convictions being upheld. The fact that the state
went to all this trouble to ensure that those who were running home games were
charged and convicted paints a very clear picture for how gambling is treated in
this particular state.
As we touched on above, you can gamble in South Carolina on the lottery, and
also in charity bingo games. The hypocrisy is amazing, but the fact is the state
takes in a massive amount of revenue from the lottery that they can then
appropriate to other causes.
In South Carolina, the lottery raises money for education in the state with
almost $5 billion raised since inception in 2002. This is an amazing amount of
money and really goes a long way towards improving education. This money goes
towards high school programs, maintenance and upkeep of schools and higher
education support and scholarships.
It’s a win-win situation for the state as they can allow lottery gambling to
occur while bringing in a decent amount of money to benefit the state in the
long term. It does scream of hypocrisy though, especially considering that
lottery is so badly stacked against the player and no skill is involved at all,
unlike in poker.
So, if you wish to play lottery you’ll be able to participate in the big
draws like Powerball and Mega Millions. They also offer a number of smaller
games and scratch cards and pull tabs. These are really your only options in
relation to lottery games in the state as it’s all state controlled and
Bingo is permitted to raise money for charities and you’ll mostly find this
in churches and other community organizations. This has been allowed from 1976,
with stronger regulation coming in the 80s. In 2004 they also started permitting
electronic bingo machines. For a game to take place the organization running it
must be registered as a not for profit entity. This ensures that no money is
being made for profit and it is going towards a charity.
Your Only Poker Option
If you love Texas holdem poker there’s one option for you in South Carolina,
but it only applies if you live near Myrtle Beach. The Big M casino cruise is
the only way you can gamble in the state, and even on this you’ll have to travel
out into international waters to do so, or at least waters that aren’t
considered state owned.
On one of their ships they offer a $2 / $5 no limit Texas holdem cash table
and even have a bad beat jackpot. You’ll only be able to play for up to five
hours each time. Even though this is quite limiting and doesn’t give you the
flexibility you have with a real land based casino poker room, it should be able
to scratch that itch you get without having to travel to New Jersey or Las
This ship also offers a range of other casino games including blackjack,
craps, roulette, 3 card poker, and Let It Ride. They also have slots if you
really want to try to luck out and make back some of those bad beat losses at
the poker table.
Finally, the Big M casino cruise also offers video poker games if you want to
go it solo for a while, and as we all know the pay back percentages on these
machines are quite good.
If you want land based poker action and you’re willing to drive, you’ll have
to go a fair way to find a casino and poker room. The closest is probably in
Jacksonville, Florida, depending on where you are in the state.
After this you’ll have to do some even more serious travel to West Virginia
which offers five poker rooms, or all the way up to Maryland for some even
larger rooms and decent action.
In these cases, you’ll probably be driving for longer than a flight to Las
Vegas or New Jersey so you may as well take the latter option and really go all
out for some awesome Teas holdem poker action.
Now we’ll turn our attention to the online world and try to provide you with
some advice in relation to gambling online when you’re in South Carolina.
Firstly, there are no direct laws that prohibit residents of this state from
gambling online, although this is a bit of a grey area and the lack of law
doesn’t always mean you are safe to do so.
Some states apply an interpretation to gambling law which suggests that land
based laws apply to the online world as if playing online would be the same as
playing in a land based casino. Even if they do this, your chances of getting in
trouble with the law if you were to play online poker or other casinos at an
off-shore site are very low. But you still could land in hot water, so we
suggest always taking a cautious approach in this respect and we wouldn’t
recommend that you play via an online offshore casino or card room.
The state of South Carolina is highly unlikely to regulate online poker soon.
We’ve really covered earlier why this is the case but with such a negative and
restrictive viewpoint in relation to all gambling it’s very unlikely they would
buck this and implement regulations to allow for online poker organizations to
operate within the state.
It may happen one day but it will be a long way off, and only maybe when
people can really start to challenge the hypocrisy in allowing some forms of
gaming and not others. Also, the challenge to the fact that poker is a game of
skill and not luck, could well result in the game being legalized in the state
soon. But this is probably a fair way off.
Native Indian Gaming
Native Indian tribes in South Carolina have been fighting for years to build
casinos and offer gambling, but this has always been rejected by the government.
It’s safe to say that this will continue to be the case at least for a few more
generations. In 20 to 30 years however, when gaming and gambling begins to open
up around the rest of the country South Carolina may well follow suit.
The simple fact is that the state is almost completely land locked by other
states that also restrict gaming, so the close neighbor argument won’t work here
until other states change.
If you love Texas holdem poker and live in South Carolina, you’ll need to
move to a better state to be able to play regularly. You just won’t have enough
options to keep you covered, unless you only want to play for a few hours every
week or two.
This just isn’t enough for most players so you may need to make the big move
south to Florida to get all the poker action you need. You’ll find a huge number
of poker rooms in this state and a great community where people truly love the
game and are able to play whenever they like. Florida residents and visitors are
able to enjoy the relaxed state laws and the sheer volume of poker tables that
exist everywhere in this sunny and warm state.
The future isn’t bright for Teas holdem in the state of South Carolina, so if
you have plans to ride it out and wait, you could be waiting a long time. In the
meantime, you’ll need to head out on a cruise or buy a ticket in the Powerball
or Mega Millions to get any kind of poker or gambling buzz.
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