It’s hard to believe but historically, South Carolina was one on the top gambling destinations in the US. It is said that during the 1700s and 1800s, the state maintained a robust gambling industry that would rival a modern-day Nevada.
Much has changed over time. Today, South Carolina has one of the most restrictive attitudes towards gambling in the US. Other than lotteries, bingo games sponsored by charitable organizations and high stakes bingo offered by South Carolina’s Catawba Tribe, there are no other legal forms of gambling available for residents. That includes pari-mutual horse racing, which is legal in 27 states.
It’s noteworthy that current laws do permit the Catawba Tribe to build and operate land-based casinos. However, tribe leaders have shown a great reluctance to allow such operations on its land.
Before addressing casinos that are able to operate off the shores of South Carolina, a look at the current states of online gambling in the state would seem to be in order. In fact, there are no laws on the books that make online gambling legal or illegal for the state’s residents. There are no online casinos licensed within the state’s borders, but just the same, residents can use online gambling sites that are licensed in other states or countries sans certain federal regulations. If interested in online gambling, you can enjoy this at Casumo.
Offshore Casinos – South Carolina
While South Carolina residents are always welcome to make the long drive into other states to enjoy land-based casino gambling, it’s not always a practical option, especially during weekdays. For the real casino gambling enthusiasts, there are two gambling cruise lines in operation in international waters off the state’s coast. Both of these casino cruise lines leave from Little River (near Myrtle Beach). Here’s some information about the availability of casino gambling for South Carolina residents on the Big M or Carnival gambling cruise lines.
Big M – The Big M cruise line operates two cruise ships (Ship I and Ship II) out of Little River. Both ships launch out of port daily, year-round. The ships feature all-you-can-eat-buffets, dining facilities and in some cases, local live entertainment. Of course, the main focus in on casino gambling. The list of available casino games includes hundreds of popular video slots and poker machines as well as table games like blackjack, video poker, craps, roulette, three card poker, Let It Ride, and Texas Hold’em. The ships leave its respective docks in the mornings and afternoons for a limited amount of time. Boarding fees are charged.
Carnival – Like Big M, Carnival offers two different ships, the Sunshine and the Ecstasy. Along with food and beverage options, both ships provide over 2,000 sq. ft of casino floor that offers video slots and poker as well as table games like blackjack, craps, and roulette. On the Ecstasy, patrons get access to 15 table games, 135 gambling machines and a small poker room. On the Sunshine, patrons get access to 214 gaming machines, 16 table games and a small poker room. The boats leave out of port on a daily basis with a boarding fee and restricted sailing times.
The Future of Gambling in South Carolina
At this time, it’s unclear which direction the SC legislature is going to take to legalize various forms of gambling for its resident. With pressure being brought to bear by residents to move forward, it is possible legislation could get underway soon. As each state is beginning to realize, the creation of tax revenues from the gambling industry is hard to resist. South Carolina needs infrastructure improvements, which might eventually serve are motivation for the legislature to start legalizing and licensing land-based casinos within the state’s boundaries.