South Carolina Lawmaker Files Bill to Legalize Sports Betting

Over 30 million American sports fans wagered on Sunday’s highly anticipated Super Bowl LVI, but this service was unavailable to South Carolina residents as betting remains illegal in this state. This is something that lawmakers are looking to change as Richland County’s Todd Rutherford has filed a new bill.

The Bill Supports Several Forms of Wagering

Just a few days after South Carolina’s gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham expressed his support for legal sports betting, Representative Rutherford comes forth with a bill that could legalize betting on horse races, sports betting, electronic gaming devices, as well as dice and card games.

Even though numerous attempts to legalize sports betting in South Carolina were made over the years, Rutherford credits two main reasons why the residents in this state might be able to wager on sports legally. First, he credited the bipartisan support, and then, he cited that sports betting has been growing in popularity at a very fast rate.

Rutherford also noted that many residents already participate in illegal wagering activities and legalizing sports betting is about letting “South Carolina benefit from that.” He also added that ever since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in 2018, 30 states have legalized sports betting and are enjoying massive tax revenue.

Sports betting supporters claim that South Carolina could expect $40 million in annual tax revenue by legalizing this activity. Rutherford plans to direct that money towards education, construction, road maintenance, and more.

Not everyone is so supportive of sports betting, though. Dave Wilson, the president of the Palmetto Family Council believes that legalizing sports betting will lead towards higher gambling addiction.

In the scenario of Rutherford’s bill being passed, it would take a referendum to fully legalize sports betting, meaning that the voters will make the final decision. Currently, the lottery is the only form of legal wagering in South Carolina and one resident in the state, Devon Gonzales, supports the idea of legal sports betting.

He said that he knows many people who are already placing bets on sports and ignore the fact that wagering is still illegal. That is why he thinks that it is logical to legalize the industry and if that’s the case, he will place a “couple of dollars here and there,” but noted that he won’t take it too far.

According to Rutherford, major companies such as Caesars and MGM are lobbying for the legalization of sports betting in South Carolina and that’s driving the needle even more towards freedom and progression.

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