S. Carolina House Rep. J. Todd Rutherford Puts New Sports Betting Bill into Play
State House Leaning Towards Legal Sports Betting, Senate Still Unsure
The next Session for South Carolina Legislators Begins January 10, 2023
Attention South Carolina sports bettors – looks like your state lawmakers will get to debate the legalization of gambling again thanks to a new bill just proposed by Representative J. Todd Rutherford – H 3095 Joint Resolution – according to a Tweet by attorney Daniel Wallach:
The proposal (presented in part using ominous all-caps) is for a constitutional amendment that would legalize sports betting, casino gambling, and pari-mutuel betting on horse races, a big deal there given that gambling has typically been frowned upon by religious right.
In part, Rutherford’s bill states:
“PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE XVII OF THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA … THAT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY BY LAW … MAY PROVIDE FOR THE CONDUCT OF GAMBLING AND GAMING ACTIVITIES ON WHICH BETS ARE MADE TO INCLUDE PARI MUTUEL BETTING ON HORSE RACING, SPORTS BETTING ON PROFESSIONAL SPORTS, CASINO ACTIVITIES...”
It calls for this new market to be “strictly regulated” and it allows for such activity to take place “in one location or in separate locations within the specified area subject to special laws,” the first step toward continuing a discussion that was started and eventually stopped in 2022.
During the 2022 South Carolina legislative session, a bill proposed by Rutherford and Rep. William G. "Bill" Herbkersman – HB 5277 – was debated and eventually passed by the state House chamber but it got nowhere in the Senate and faded away without even a vote.
Chances are a similar split will occur in 2023, the obvious goal being to address whatever issues are preventing those Senators from climbing aboard, a similar scenario faced by plenty of other U.S. lawmakers who for whatever reason object to voting to such a market into place.
Currently, over thirty U.S. states have legalized sports betting for their residents, with six of the holdout states (Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina) located in the so-called Bible belt, their moral stance against gambling a major reason for their reluctance.
The truth of the matter is that there are already plenty of Palmetto State gamblers who are now forced to go elsewhere to place their action – illegal bookies, unregulated offshore sportsbooks, neighboring states – and all that money is leaving South Carolina to benefit outsiders.
State lawmakers will soon get another chance to redirect that outgoing revenue flow inwards to benefit the residents.
The next time South Carolina Lawmakers convene begins January 10, 2023, and that session is scheduled to run until June 30, 2023, half a year for legislators to debate all the angles and figure out a compromise that brings some level of legal sports betting to their constituents.
Legal sports betting in the U.S. has already generated a $170 billion handle since its inception in May 2018, that money producing $12.8 billion in sportsbook revenue which has equated to over $2 billion in state taxes, money that has been reinvested into underserved areas.
Now South Carolina lawmakers have a chance to create a new income stream they can use to fund educational projects, infrastructural improvements, and whatever other pet projects are important to the residents, all just a Senatorial ‘yes’ vote away from happening in 2023.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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