South Carolina Online Poker Law
With no casino industry and a history of fighting against any type of gambling expansion, South Carolina may be a hotspot for golfing, but live poker and its online brother suffers. In fact, any form of cards or games with dice are technically illegal in South Carolina, including card games such as cribbage, and even board games like Monopoly.
The law dates to 1802. It was slightly revised in the 1980s, which gave rise to an illicit video poker industry, which experienced a major crackdown by authorities in 2013.
As of late 2013, there are no online poker bills or online gambling bills anywhere in South Carolina’s legislative pipeline, and as far as the eye could see into the future, none coming.
Even a bill proposed by Rep. Bill Herbkersman — a Republican from a place called Bluffton (how appropriate) — that would clarify and permit social card games (including home poker) is facing major resistance by conservative members of its Senate. The bill is also facing opposition from local newspapers that are publishing editorial warnings that this law change will open the floodgates for gambling in South Carolina.
The Cherokee are trying to get approval to open a casino in South Carolina, but Gov. Nikki Haley, a Tea Party favorite and a politician that has shown an acute awareness about her conservative queen status, promised to reject the proposal.
South Carolina is also the home to overzealous police that made at least two highly public raids against people playing small-stakes poker. In 2006, police used a SWAT team to raid a game, charging more than 20 players. Both a 72-year-old man and a police officer were shot at a $1-$2 game in 2010 during a police raid. The hard-of-hearing man thought the game was getting robbed when police started using a battering ram to break into his house, and he fired his pistol at the door, hitting an officer in the arm. The police returned fire and blew the old man’s thumb off.
Police and SWAT teams also raided the property of a conservative activist who was gaining some attention for calling for an investigation against his local representatives for corruption. The state’s Alcohol Law Enforcement agents said an illegal poker game was taking place on the property.
It’s obvious: Poker has made South Carolina law enforcement officials lose their minds, and the governor’s office doesn’t care overly much.
A battering ram to raid a poker game? A SWAT team to bust a tournament? The online poker industry is going to need to put in a heck of a lot of effort to gain access to South Carolina’s players, because with no established industry and a government hostile toward any type of gambling expansion, online poker players in South Carolina should feel as hopeless as chasing a one-outer that the guy to their right already threw away.
This is a state where people can legally be arrested for simply owning a pack of cards. The law was attempted to be changed in 2011, but the state Senate refused to vote on it, citing fears that it will lead to gambling expansion even though the proposed law change has language explicitly refuting that. That’s what the online poker industry is fighting against in South Carolina.