COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) — Two lawmakers are making another attempt to legalize and regulate sports betting in the Palmetto State.
Reps. Herbkersman (R-Beaufort) and Rutherford (D-Richland) introduced a bipartisan bill in the S.C. House on Thursday that would allow the operation of eight to twelve online sports betting platforms.
Under the proposed legislation, any person age 21 or older would be able to bet on professional sports, collegiate sports and e-sports. There are only four states in which e-sports betting is fully legal.
Only “designated sports wagering operators” including professional sports franchises, PGA tour facilities and promoters of national associations for stock car auto racing national touring races would be licensed.
Professional athletes or others involved with professional sports organizations would be prohibited from engaging in betting “if the wager is based on a sporting event overseen by the person’s sports governing body.”
The introduction of H.5277 is just the latest effort in the fight to legalize sports betting.
Gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham announced a proposal in February that would allow South Carolinians to bet on sports online, in brick and mortar locations, and on mobile apps. He estimates the move could generate $40 million a year in tax revenue.
H.5277 calls for operators to pay a “privilege tax” at a rate of 10% of their adjusted gross revenue. Of the tax revenue collected, 80% would be deposited in the South Carolina Education Lottery and 15% would be allocated to the general fund. The remaining 5% would be allocated to the Department of Mental Health to treat gambling addictions, among other uses.
Thirty states and Washington, D.C., currently have live, legal sports betting and another nine, including South Carolina, are considering legislation that would legalize it, according to the American Gaming Association.
With three weeks left in the legislative session, the bill sits in the House Judiciary Committee.