South Carolina Poker - Gambling Laws in South Carolina

South Carolina Poker LawsIs Poker Legal in South Carolina?

South Carolina is a very strict state when it comes to any kind of gambling, poker included.  Before we go through the fine points of the law, let’s take a look at the initial piece of legislation that takes a stab at poker. According to section 16-19-40“If any person shall play … in any house used as a place of gaming…at any game with cards or dice…”

Learn which American poker sites will accept players from the state of South Carolina


The law goes on to prescribe the appropriate punishment of up to thirty days in prison and a fine of up to $100. If you are actually operating a place of gambling, then you’ll be subject to a maximum of one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000! Clearly the state takes this pretty seriously. Notice also that the law doesn't mention gambling, just any game involving dice or cards.

With this as our starting point, it is clear that South Carolina does not support gambling. While other states may have a plethora of loopholes, South Carolina holds this restrictive position throughout the penal code. To learn what you can and cannot do (and the one loophole) read on.

What About Home Poker Games?

South Carolina’s law against gambling applies 100% to poker anywhere in the state, even in your home. In 2007, and again in 2009, bills were proposed to modify the law to allow poker in certain circumstances. If passed, these bills would make a notable exception for poker played within a private residence. Like many other states’ laws, it would require that the games didn’t yield a profit (ie. rake) for the operator of the game.

Sadly though, all of the bills that have been proposed have been denied. Religious groups (who warn that allowing gambling in the home is a slippery slope and may lead to full-fledged casinos in the state’s future) have largely spearheaded the effort against home poker.

Do The Casinos in South Carolina Offer Poker?

South Carolina does not allow casinos to operate within its borders because, as we discussed earlier, all forms of gambling are illegal in the state. This includes all casino games, horse tracks, and of course poker. There is, however, one notable way to work around these laws.

If you want to gamble legally while in South Carolina, head to the coast. There are thriving offshore casinos housed in yachts. These ships will take you out to see for the day where you can enjoy all of the luxury of a land casino without any of the legal concerns. Because these operations vary greatly, call ahead to ensure that yours offers poker.

Is Online Poker Legal in South Carolina?

The gambling laws in South Carolina’s Penal code were written literally centuries ago in 1802. Because of this, the idea of gambling in a digital world was obviously too far off to be in consideration and none of the state’s laws apply to any sort of gambling online. Even at the federal level, poker players are free to play online, so as a resident of South Carolina you shouldn’t have to worry too much about online poker being illegal.

View More USA Poker / Gambling Laws by State

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