S.C. Set To Legalize Social Gambling

14 April 2010

South Carolina is poised to repeal an 1802 law which made illegal any game using dice or cards. If enforced literally, it would make illegal many common family type games. House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham, stated: “When you can’t play Monopoly and Yahtzee, that’s a problem. We need to move the ball forward,” He further stated that their intention is not to open the door to legalized gambling.

The legislation is to allow in-house social gambling, such as a friendly game of poker among friends, and it would allow state certified non-profits to raise money by way of selling raffle tickets four times a year. 90% of the money raised would have to go to charity.

State residents would also get a chance to vote to allow churches, schools, and other non-profit organizations to hold raffles.

It is similar to legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, but which stalled due to nervous senators afraid to change gambling laws.

Attempts to change the law have been made since 2006 when a raid on a home in Mount Pleasant resulted in the arrest of 22 people, including a 79 year old woman.

John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance asked: “Does arresting 80-year-olds for playing a game of Texas Hold ’Em seem like a good use of the state’s law enforcement time and resources?”.

The bill specifically bans gaming machines, and bars video poker by outlawing gambling where the outcome is mostly due to chance, not skill. The argument there being that a game played against a machine is not a contest of who is better. In a game played against live opponents, the best player will usually win over time.

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