South Carolina Legal Poker Sites

South Carolina StateThis is not the best place to live if you are a poker fan, every single form of poker you could possibly imagine is considered completely illegal here. There are no casinos or poker card rooms, home games get busted, bar leagues are not permitted and charity poker nights banned. While playing online poker is also considered to be illegal under the current laws, individuals are able to access many online poker sites based offshore. Other than that there are simply no poker playing opportunities here at all!

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This article goes through the options for poker players living in South Carolina, and points out the areas of poker gaming where you are clean out of luck. First of all, you’ll find a look at opportunities for live poker games, or rather the lack of them. Next social poker is considered in the different formats, this section includes information on a long running legal battle. Online poker is covered next, including offshore online poker sites. Finally, you can find some information from the South Carolina Statutes which relate to poker games – before finding a summary at the end of this page.

South Carolina Live Poker Games

The only casinos to operate from South Carolina are ‘Cruises to nowhere’ which are boats that sail out to international waters in order to allow gambling. While there are table games and slots, poker games do not run on these boats.

The closest poker room is the tribal casino in North Carolina, though this is a long journey from most of the big population centers. With so many anti-gambling States surrounding SC, most poker games involve either a very long drive, or a flight to Florida or Atlantic City.

Are Home Games Legal In South Carolina?

You can’t enjoy social home games in this State, who do have a history of busting them. One such bust led to a multi-year legal battle, which saw a South Carolina court rule that poker was a game of skill. This was overturned by a higher court 3 years later – so poker is back to being considered as illegal gambling as a result. While the fines for smaller stakes home games would not be too large, potential players should keep in mind that participating in one is at your own legal risk.

Charity events are not permitted to hold poker tournaments or nights, and bar poker is not permitted here either. As far as social poker goes, South Carolina is not a very social State!

South Carolina Online Poker Games

Online poker games are considered well and truly against the law here – based on the existing pre-internet Statutes. The chances of this State ever regulating online poker look remote to put it mildly. Since they have never voted to allow any form of gambling ever, the chances of leaping to online ventures virtually impossible.

Offshore poker sites do welcome players from South Carolina. These sites are hosted in places like Antigua and Netherlands Antilles, where they can legally operate. Thousands of US players enjoy the games at these sites every day. It is the responsibility of the individual player to determine whether they are breaking any local State laws by enjoying these games. I am not aware of any individual from SC getting arrested for this activity.

What Do The South Carolina Gambling Statutes Say?

With a State this strictly anti-gambling, you will not be surprised to hear that the laws make gambling activity illegal from several different angles. First there is the playing or betting in an illegal game clause, which covers most forms of gambling. If that were not quite legally water tight enough, SC follows through with the operation of gambling devices (which can be just about anything at all). In theory even owning a gambling table is a criminal offense in South Carolina.

Here are the key excerpts from the SC codes, this is from section 32 part 1-10:

… by playing at cards, dice table or any other game whatsoever or by betting on the sides or hands of such as do play at any of the games aforesaid, lose to any person or persons so playing or betting…

South Carolina Poker – Summing It Up

There is little positive to end this page with from the perspective of a poker fan. The only games which happen at all from this State are via the internet at offshore online poker sites based out in the Caribbean. There is little hope that anything will be changing soon in this deeply religious State, with regulation of online poker looking to be an extremely remote possibility. The best bet for poker fans is to save that money and take a flight to more poker-friendly places to get your fix.