Can You Play Online Poker in South Carolina?
No, you cannot play online poker legally in South Carolina. The state has very stringent laws that prohibit both online and offline poker and other forms of gambling. Even land-based casinos and live poker rooms are not allowed to operate, and charity games are banned by law. These tough laws prohibit poker in any form, and online poker operators have no license to operate in South Carolina.
Why Not? What Are the Online Poker Laws in South Carolina?
South Carolina has one of the harshest gambling laws in the country. Section 16-19-40 of the State’s law prohibits any form of unlawful games and betting. This covers most forms of gambling, including both online and land-based poker.
Currently, there are no bills before the state legislature seeking to change the state of South Carolina's Online poker laws. However, while the law makes it virtually impossible for poker room operators to provide their services within the state, these laws technically don’t apply to players.
This legal gray area makes it possible for poker enthusiasts in South Carolina to play online poker on offshore gambling sites. Offshore sites are run by international operators licensed outside the United States. These sites operate based on the laws in the country where they’re licensed and are not bound by federal and state restrictions.
Joining an offshore gambling site is a legally safe way to play online poker in South Carolina. However, many of these sites carry other significant risks, which is why MyPokerCoaching does not recommend patronizing them.
Offshore sites are not bound by any of the gambling laws or operational standards in the United States. Many of them cannot guarantee the safety of player deposits and their winnings. Players may have a hard time processing their payouts from these sites. Also, offshore sites can get shut down unexpectedly, with no hope of recovering your money. Since they’re not backed by US laws, there’s no legal protection for players who lose their money or fall victim to fraud on these sites.
Potential South Carolina Poker Sites to Launch in the Future
Poker has been popular in South Carolina for many years, but the state is still to regulate online poker sites. There have been several attempts at it over the years, but so far, none have come to fruition.
It is a pretty safe bet that online poker in SC will be regulated at some point in the future, so the only real question is when. While it’s hard to give any definitive answer at this point in time, we continue to monitor the situation and will keep you updated with any important developments.
When online poker is finally legal in SC, there are a few sites that we can expect to go live. These are all operators with a major presence in the regulated US market, and they’ll likely jump at the opportunity to expand their presence.
BetMGM Poker South Carolina
BetMGM has established itself as a household name in the regulated US online poker space, and the operator will likely be among the first to stake a claim in such an attractive new market.
We expect BetMGM Poker will bring out a platform similar to that in other states like PA, MI, and NJ. A poker client powered by the PartyPoker technology offers a modern and very reliable solution for all online poker fans, even if it is not as rich in functionalities as some other platforms.
In terms of game variety, players can look forward to a nice mix of online tournaments, a wide range of cash game stakes, and, in all likelihood, BetMGM Poker’s staple SPINS – a hugely popular sit & go variation featuring a random jackpot.
It is also likely that BetMGM Poker SC will come out of the gate swinging, offering a generous welcome bonus. With what’s likely to be heavy competition in the state, all sites will look for ways to stand out, and this is generally a good thing for the players.
PokerStars South Carolina
Although the company couldn’t enter the US before 2016, PokerStars has established itself as a staple name of online poker in the country, just like they have done in the global market.
Once the regulation is finally passed, the launch of PokerStars is pretty much a guarantee. This is especially true if the state passes a law with the expectation of joining the MSIGA, as the operator seems eager to take advantage of opportunities provided by interstate poker.
But even without that particular element, SC is a big enough market on its own.
What PokerStars brings to the table is the operator’s experience in organizing major online series, first and foremost. US versions of ‘COOP events have been hugely successful in all states where the site currently has a presence, and there is no reason to think South Carolina would be an exception.
PokerStars also offers one of the best software solutions for desktop computers and mobile devices alike. This enhances the player experience and certainly helps push the site towards the top of the list when deciding where to play.
WSOP South Carolina
The third SC poker site likely to go live as soon as legal requirements are met is WSOP.com. Right now, WSOP is the only operator present in all regulated US markets with active poker sites, and the company is on the constant lookout for expansion opportunities.
WSOP.com has one trump card that no other operators can match, which is its ability to host bracelet-awarding events and exclusive satellites to live World Series of Poker tournaments. This has helped the operator remain competitive across the country.
A launch in a new state would likely mean an exclusive bracelet series, giving players in the state great opportunities to win some WSOP silverware from the comfort of their home, and if past experience is any indicator, this is an opportunity that players jump on.
WSOP should have no problem claiming its fair share of the new market despite competitors, with the operators’ numbers surging during major live and online events.