Representative Russell Ott of the 93rd district of the South Carolina House of Representatives has proposed a bill that could make online horse racing bets legal in the state. The gambling proposal is centered around the idea of raising money to serve the needs of equestrian-based programs in SC. If it would pass, the bill would become a historical breakthrough in the state where gambling has been outlawed time and time again in the past years.
Horse Race Betting Limited to Apps Online?
According to the proposal, bettors would only be allowed to use online apps to place their bets, but only after signing up and funding new accounts with money. The legislation would use the term “advance deposit account wagering” to define this requirement.
Ott, who is the House of Representatives main sponsor, confirmed the fact that the horse race betting apps online would work similarly to other sports betting platforms online such as DraftKings’ popular platform. All betting activities would fall under the state’s regulations and wagers would be exclusively dedicated to horse racing.
Ott made it clear that the proposal would not cause any drastic changes or include talks about any land casinos, sportsbooks, or horse race tellers where bettors would be allowed to place their bets. The state would be solely responsible for choosing the operators that would tackle these types of mobile activities.
The Bill May Be Vetoed by Long-Term Opponents
The gambling legislation in South Carolina faces a lot of opposition, with legislators fearing the potential effects of any small tweaking of the prohibition imposed by the state. Church catwalks and school raffles were deemed outside the law prior to 2015, so the current proposal would most likely be criticized and vetoed by its strongest opponents. The list includes governor Henry McMaster who also opposed the proposal for a state lottery to be created in 2000.
Senator Katrina Shealy acknowledged that the people of South Carolina are already placing “technically illegal” bets online while recognizing the fact that passionate bettors will keep placing their wagers online no matter the restrictions. Shealy added that the new proposal would put the money to good use. Its beneficiaries could be college equestrian and veterinarians programs, trails, therapy programs for teenagers, inmate programs, and army veterans looking for PTSD counseling. The money could also be used as an incentive for horse owners to keep their horses in the state as a means of growing both the training and the racing industries.
The new bill would also lead to the creation of a commission with seven members who would be responsible for licensing and regulating up to three companies. The same members would also distribute SC’s winning share, which would be equal to 10% of all profits. The exact tax that the state would collect remains unknown at the moment, but it is expected to be a substantial amount. The bill will most likely receive the support of South Carolina’s gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham who expressed his belief that sports betting should be legalized in SC in mid-February. Soon after, House representative Todd Rutherford proposed a bill that could legalize horse race betting.