Legal Online Poker For South Carolina Residents

South Carolina gaming laws, especially as they pertain to legal South Carolina online poker, leave things wide-open for interpretation. The gaming laws in South Carolina are so old, they make no mention of the Internet much less many other modern gaming devices. That's why it is generally accepted that playing online poker in South Carolina is completely legal as long as South Carolina poker players follow federal laws.

Recently, the main federal law used to threaten online poker players was revisited by the US Department of Justice. The Federal Wire Act of 1961 has been declared to be restricted to sports betting only. There is at least one other major piece of federal legislation related to online gambling: the UIGEA. This act was passed in the waning minutes of the 2006 legislative session and is an attempt to control online gambling by restricting the way that online poker players and other gamblers can fund their online accounts. Luckily for fans of online gaming, using third-party payment processors is a legal way to get around this act.

Is Online Poker Legal In South Carolina?


If you live in South Carolina and want to play online poker with the consent of the state, you're out of luck. The law is written such that any game of poker involving wagers is illegal. Online poker, private home games, and even charity events that don't follow the rules are subject to penalty by South Carolina state law. Though no online poker players have ever been convicted based on these laws, the possibility is there. Furthermore, online poker sites will not turn away South Carolina residents so playing online poker in South Carolina is still a possibility.

Legal Online Poker Sites For South Carolina Residents

We recommend three online poker rooms for South Carolina citizens: Intertops Poker, Bovada Poker, and BetOnline. All three of these sites are legal options for online poker play for South Carolina residents, and offer payment transfer options that satisfy the requirements of the UIGEA.

Bovada Poker - All South Carolina Residents Accepted

South Carolina has been a little slower to take up on the online poker craze than other states in the union, but for already avid or aspiring poker players that could be good news. Any South Carolina resident that is looking to get in on the online poker scene before the rest of South Carolina catches onto the craze should go to Bovada. If you have found yourself wanting to try out online poker there is never a more advantageous time to start than now.

The benefits of choosing Bovada is that players in this online poker room for South Carolina residents make more money than players on any other site due to their insane guaranteed tournaments. Most sites have a few a week, or even if they have dailies, have only a hundred thousand or so up for grabs every week. At Bovada they not only have daily tournaments they have more than 2 million dollars in guaranteed money every week. Their biggest daily is $100,000 dollars at the end of the week which is massive, as big as most sites entire weeks of tournaments.

SportsBetting Poker - Big Bonuses Up To $900 For SC Residents

The online poker room at SportsBetting is the best place to go for poker players in South Carolina that are looking for a bit more of a refined experience. There are few sites in these days that are accessible to all skill levels, but this legal online poker room has a place specifically for players that are more serious about their game than the normal hobbyists or players looking to just make a quick buck off the game. While there is still the normal all money all the time games at SportsBetting, for many of their players it is just the warm up.

Those looking for the casual poker experience should check out the sit and go tables, they are designed for those who want to make money and make it quick. There are fast tournaments around the clock and there are just as many money games as there are tournaments. Any players who really want a challenge and who want to play poker for the sake of playing poker, the guaranteed cash tournaments are the place for them. This is where the best players from around the U.S. gather to go toe to toe with SportsBetting users from around the country. The pros are more than happy to shut down any players that wander in by accident, so only experienced players need apply. The players that do will experience a rush like they have never felt before and it can make or break the next big pros on the scene.

BetOnline Poker Room - Free For All South Carolina Residents To Join
Bonus: Up To $900
Bonus Code: NA

BetOnline's bonus program is good for the life of your membership: you can get a 15-25% bonus up to $900 on every deposit that you make of $50 or more. BetOnline has been in the online gaming business since 1998, making them one of the oldest continuously operating gambling sites. Traffic is low as of this writing, averaging only 1,000 poker players, but as more Americans gain access to legal online poker play, you can expect that to increase. Overall this is one of our favorite online poker sites that accepts South Carolina residents.

South Carolina Online Poker Laws

There is one interesting law on the books in South Carolina that could restrict online poker play: a law against gambling on the Sabbath. That law reads, in part: "Whoever shall keep or suffer to be kept any gaming table or permit any game or games to be played in his house on the Sabbath day, on conviction thereof before any court having jurisdiction, shall be fined in the sum of fifty dollars, to be sued for on behalf of, and to be recovered for the use of, the State." A $50 fine is all the evidence you need of this particular provision's age, a provision that would be easy to strike down should online poker catch on at the state level.

And there is reason to suspect that South Carolina is looking to regulate and legalize online poker, as long as the state gets some tax revenue from the deal. The state budget is crumbling, like every other state in America, and with the Department of Justice clarifying that the Wire Act doesn't control online poker bets, you can expect there to be some talk in South Carolina about opening state regulated poker rooms.


Is Land Based Poker Legal in South Carolina?

Ever since the days of the old west, citizens of the United States have seemed to have an intimate and complicated relationship with poker bordering on a love affair.  This has not alleviated over the years, in fact, for most US residents, the passion surrounding the game of poker has only grown since the world series of poker became a televised event.

Unfortunately for residents of South Carolina, the televised world series of poker is just about as close as they will get to participating in any live poker game for big money, at least within the borders of their home state.

Nestled deep in the south, South Carolina sports some of the strictest laws regarding poker out of any of the 50 states in the US.  The letter of the law leaves nothing to the imagination when it comes to playing poker in South Carolina, it is simply against the law.

State law regarding gambling almost reads like a sequel to “Green Eggs and Ham”  as it lists off all the places one may not place any bets or wagers, even going so far as to outlaw games on the side of the highway and inside a barn or outhouse.

While the law clearly bans participation in any games of poker that collect profit simply for hosting the game, they are a little more ambiguous when it comes to private games.  Even though games that do not charge admission or take profits from the pots are not clearly exempt from the law, they are not mentioned, which should allow for a South Carolina resident to take part in or even organize a poker game, just so long as that resident does not accept any profits for merely hosting the game.

Where to Play Legal Poker in South Carolina

Due to strict laws in the state of South Carolina, the options as to where one can go to participate in live poker are scant at best.  No legal poker rooms operate within the state, and while it would surely be possible to organize a social game amongst friends, if a poker player wished to play for any real profit in South Carolina, these would not be a good fit.

That leaves South Carolina residents with two options, and both leave a lot to be desired.  The first is to make a drive to a state with legal poker rooms.  Georgia holds no refuge, but there are legal poker rooms in North Carolina.

The other option is to seek out an illicit, underground poker game.  For many reasons, this is not a recommended course of action.  Even forgetting for an instant the legal danger that South Carolina residents leave themselves open to, they will be associating with a known criminal element.  This is extremely unsafe, both for one’s person and for one’s hard earned money.

Unfortunately, until legislation changes, South Carolina is an unfortunate place for any poker fan to reside.

Note: The above was not written by a lawyer, just a poker player familiar with state laws and online poker. If you have more detailed questions or want advice on the legality of online poker in South Carolina, contact a lawyer.

Playing online poker in South Carolina is as easy as going to Bovada and signing up for a free account. If you decide to deposit, all South Carolina depositors get a 100% to $1K deposit bonus for the first deposit only.