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South Carolina Online Poker: No Instate Casinos, so Play on the Internet!

SC Online Poker Rooms

There are no offline poker rooms anywhere in South Carolina, which is why online poker in South Carolina is such an interesting proposition. Despite the traditionalist nature of the state's administration and laws, nobody has ever been legally charged with any crime for participating in poker games over the internet. South Carolina online poker in entertaining, convenient, and potentially very rewarding both in the personal and financial senses of the word.

Some worry not just about South Carolina online poker law but also about federal acts that might impact their hobby. It used to be thought that the UIGEA in combination with the Wire Act banned online poker throughout the country, but new interpretations by the Justice Department mean that the Wire Act doesn't apply to poker played online. Thus, you have no need to be concerned about either federal or state law when you engage in online poker play.



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We've reviewed the sites that are available to South Carolinians, and we've found a number of them that have excellent promotions and highly desirable games. If you're searching for a place to play online poker, then you've come to the right place.

Table of Contents

1.   Poker Site
      1.1. Ignition
      1.2. Chico Poker Network
      1.3. Intertops
      1.4. Winning Poker Network
      1.5. Grand Poker Network
2.   Selection Guidelines
3.   Payments
4.   Laws
5.   Gambling History
6.   Regulated Poker?
7.   Live Gambling
8.   Conclusion
9.   Address in Nearby State?
10. FAQ
11. Additional Resources

 

Online Poker Sites Available in South Carolina

When you determine to begin your South Carolina online poker adventure, you might be tempted to start up right away at the first site that catches your eye. We advise you to resist this temptation. Although the majority of existing internet poker sites are legitimate, there are a few that are dishonest. We've gone to the trouble of researching all of them and presenting only the best of the best below. No matter which of the sites on our list you sign up for, you'll get to experience fairly dealt cards, intuitive and easy-to-use software, and reliable cashouts without excessive delays. Read the information we've collected so that you don't have to operate by guesswork and hunches.

 

Ignition Poker

Favorable Attributes of Ignition Poker

It's definitely worth it to keep Ignition Poker on your radar because it's the biggest poker room open to South Carolinians. The site, on the PaiWangLuo Network, will welcome you with a 100% up to $1,000 bonus to use at the tables. Bonus clearance occurs at a respectable 30% rate in SNGs and tournaments while being worth slightly less in cash games.

 Banner CTA for Ignition: Play Now

At Ignition, all gameplay is anonymous. You won't be able to see the usernames of your opponents, and they won't be able to view yours. This makes long-term player tracking impossible and is part of the “recreational friendly” philosophy that the company is proud of. The effect of this way of doing things is that newcomers to poker feel comfortable here, leading to games that are a notch or two softer than at competing poker rooms.

Whether you like No Limit Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, or Pot Limit Omaha/8, you'll be able to sit in games spread between $0.02/$0.05 and $10/$20. If limit poker is more your cup of tea, then you'll be pleased by the LHE and LO8 tables that climb as high as $30/$60. Ignition is home to Zone Poker, the only fast-fold poker variant available in the U.S. market. When you fold your cards in Zone, you'll immediately move to a new table to begin a new hand. This means that you can avoid having to wait for the rest of the table to complete their actions, and you can therefore see many more hands in an hour than you could at an old-school poker table.

Sit n' goes are priced from $1 + $0.05 to $200 + $14. On top of the regular sit and goes that are omnipresent at basically every internet poker site, you'll see Beginners contests that award prizes to a larger fraction of the field than is standard along with Triple Ups, which pay one-third of the field three times the buyin. Things are even better as far as multi-table events go because there are guarantees amounting to $1.5 million per week. The largest one is the $150 + $12 $100,000 Guaranteed on Sundays, which very often blasts well past the $100K minimum. Stay on the alert for tourney series, like the Black Diamond Poker Open, that award several millions of dollars each time.

The Ignition poker room can be accessed by download software, provided for PCs and Macs. There's also a web-based platform that works with iOS, Android, and many other types of mobile systems. If you play poker through the mobile solution, however, you won't be able to join tournaments or SNGs because only cash games are supported. From either a mobile or desktop machine, you can load up hundreds of casino games for when you need a break from poker. The casino comes with its own 100% up to $1,000 bonus.

ProfRB Ignition Poker Signup Banner

To register for Ignition Poker, click above on our banner. For more information on the poker room first, read our Ignition Casino Poker review.

 

Chico Network

Chico Poker Network's Good Features Image

As the #3 spot for online poker in the United States, as measured by player volume numbers, Sportsbetting.ag on the Chico Poker Network has certainly grown over the past few years. It rewards new players with a 100% up to $2,500 poker bonus, which is the equivalent of 33% rakeback.

SB.ag Play Now CTA Banner for Poker

The cash games at Chico are mostly focused on three variants: NL Hold'em, PL Omaha, and PL Omaha Hi-Lo. There are a few other games listed, but they seldom see any action. You can play these three types of poker at blind levels ranging from $0.01/$0.02 to $5/$10. At certain clearly marked No Limit Texas Hold'em tables of $0.50/$1.00 and above, there's a Bad Beat Jackpot running. When you take JJJJ or better to showdown and lose, you'll scoop up a large portion of the jackpot pool. People have taken home six figures from this BBJ, like the time when it was activated for $650K.

If single-table competitions are what you're looking for, then you'll find a ton of them from $0.05 (with no house fee) through $500 + $25. Most levels are fairly active with the exception of the top few, which might require you to wait awhile until enough registrants emerge. On the multi-table front, things are a bit weaker because the tourney buyins are mostly $33 and under with the smallish prize pools you would expect from events of this size. This isn't true on Sundays, though, because there's a $90 + $9 Main Event that awards at least $50,000 each week. On the last Sunday of the month, this is bumped up to a $100 + $9 entry and a $100,000 guarantee.

There is a comp points system to reward you for your ongoing play at Sportsbetting.ag. It allows you to trade in your points for tournament buyins at a rate of about 5% valueback. In addition, three leaderboards pay out a total of $20,000 to the top ring game fans, sit n' go partisans, and MTTers each week. You'll get these benefits whether you play from your desktop using the Mac or PC software or whether you log into the apps for iOS and Android. This mobile poker application is quite robust, and we believe it's one of the premier such offerings on the market today.

Banner Highlights Call to Action for Sportsbetting.ag

Follow the banner above, and start playing at Sportsbetting.ag today. You can learn more about this poker operator in our comprehensive review of the poker action at SB.ag. For another option on the Chico Network, check out BetOnline.

 

Horizon Network

Horizon Network's Positive Features

Intertops, on the Horizon Network, has been faithfully serving its gambling customers for more than 30 years. This may seem impossible because the internet hasn't even been in widespread use for that long. What happened is that the firm was an offline bookmaker before jumping online in 1996 and becoming one of the first destinations in the world for real money gaming over the internet. When you sign up, you'll qualify for a 200% up to $1,000 poker bonus.

Intertops Poker CTA: Play Now Banner

The bonus you'll get on your first deposit can offer payback figures as high as 27% depending on the particular games you play. Moreover, as a reader of Professional Rakeback, you'll receive 36% dealt rakeback standard when you open an account through our links. Other elements of the welcome package include 100 free casino bets, worth about $90, and a ticket to the monthly depositors $1,000 freeroll.

The traffic here is a bit on the underwhelming side, and it's rare to see any NLHE tables above $0.25/$0.50 actually running. You may encounter the occasional PLO game, but for the most part, the games that are populated are for two-hole-card poker. The situation for sit-and-gos is similar: Very few of them start up above the $5 level. The MTT section is much better because there are dozens of contests running every day. Most of them are for microstakes, but there is a $50 + $5 event called the Sundowner every day. The Sundowner guarantees $1,500 except on Sundays when it grows to $2,500.

One of the areas in which Intertops is ahead of the curve is in the steady provision of rewarding promos to its customers. There are reload bonuses about once a month, and you can issue yourself no deposit bonuses by exchanging the gold coins you'll accumulate as a matter of course while you play. Social promotions, like Facebook contests, are frequent. There are step tournaments a few times per year that let you win seats to amazing offline poker events. These feeder tourneys sometimes have considerable overlays, allowing you to pick up your entry and hotel accommodations for a pittance.

Highlights Banner CTA Image for Intertops

Begin playing at Intertops now by clicking through the above banner. To better acquaint yourself with 'Tops first, head over to our fact-filled Intertops review.

 

Winning Network

WPN's Advantages Icons Banner Image

The Winning Poker Network has risen from relative obscurity five or six years ago to become the second-largest room for online poker that's open to U.S. residents. The premium site on the network, Americas Cardroom, issues new depositors a 100% up to $1,000 bonus (20% rakeback equivalent) along with $50 in credits good toward buyins in Jackpot Poker SNGs.

ACR Play Now Banner Image

Ring games at ACR can get to be bigger than those at other U.S.A. poker rooms because the top stakes listed for NLHE, PLO, and PLO-8 are $25/$50. These lofty blind levels aren't just for bragging rights; there are sometimes people actually sitting and playing in them. If fixed-limit poker is more your speed, then you can participate in LHE, LO8, Seven Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud/8 as high as $30/$60 and even higher in some variants. For tournaments, you get your choice of dozens of guaranteed events every day. The highlight of the week is the Sunday Special: a $200 + $15 competition that guarantees $150,000. Every once in a while, there's a tournament series, like the Online Super Series, that comes with seven figures in prizes.

Sit and goes are worthy of especial mention at Americas Cardroom. Apart from the normal games that are present at basically every internet poker room, there are two that are unique to the Winning Poker Network and can't be found elsewhere. SNG 2.0 is a nine-handed battle that uses a pregame round to decide upon the prize pool. Jackpot Poker, on the other hand, only seats three and determines its prize pool by generating a random number that can be as much as 2,500 times the buyin. Don't forget that you'll be able to play $50 worth of Jackpot Poker on the house after you make your initial deposit.

Without taking any active measures, you'll routinely collect Combat Points while you play under the terms of the Elite Benefits program. They can be traded in for complimentary goodies, and you'll also get cash payments as you surpass certain point totals. If this isn't enough for you, then take a look at the two weekly leaderboards at Americas Cardroom. The Beast is designed for cash game players, and it disburses tens of thousands of dollars in cash together with satellite tournament tokens every week. Sit & Crush is similar, but it's geared toward SNG players. Since they were instituted, these leaderboards have transferred a total of more than $15 million to the winners.

ACR's CTA Banner

There's no reason to wait; click on our banner link above to open up an account at Americas Cardroom. You may also want to take a look at our detail-rich Americas Cardroom overview first to find out more about this poker firm.

Americas Cardroom could probably function quite well as a standalone site, but it doesn't have to because it's part of a poker network. What this means in that the other sites on the Winning Network work together with ACR to craft a truly outstanding poker platform that surpasses what any one of them could accomplish by itself. Some of ACR's most substantial network partners are: BlackChip Poker (read review), True Poker (read review), and PokerHost (read review). For instructions on how to acquire rakeback at any of these organizations, read our complete guide to setting up a WPN rakeback deal.

 

Grand Network

Positive Features of the Grand Network

The Grand Poker Network is the newest mainstream poker entity to emerge in the U.S.-serving space, but there are reasons why its youth doesn't translate into unreliability. It was the created in 2014 by 5Dimes, one of the most highly rated online bookies, which has been in business for more than 20 years. Its multifunctional software works flawlessly on Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and really any device that's of relatively recent vintage.

One slight issue with playing at 5Dimes is that traffic levels are minimal. This is only to be expected from a group that's still trying to grow its player base. One benefit of this room flying under the radar in this way is that savvy professional players haven't yet caught on to the fact that the games here are extremely profitable. Many of the players aren't really conversant in competent poker strategy because they're mainly sportsbettors and casino game gamblers. You can sit across from them at tables spread between $0.05/$0.10 and $1/$2 as you attempt to relieve them of their undoubtedly too-large bankrolls.

The cash games can be remunerative indeed, but this doesn't mean that the tournaments aren't worthy of note in their own right. They top out at $5 + $0.50, which is somewhat disappointing, but there are a few tourneys each day that have no house fees! Therefore, your winnings will tend to accumulate much faster here than they might at another online cardroom. Look for the $500 freereoll that's held every Sunday if you're keen on building up a balance from scratch. Whether you're a novice or a dedicated veteran of poker, you'll appreciate the 50% rakeback that all our visitors receive when they click through our 5Dimes links.

Banner of 5Dimes

Anyone can benefit from the mouthwatering tables at 5Dimes by following our banner link above. We've prepared an accurate review of the Grand Poker Network that might interest you too.


 

How to Choose the Right South Carolina Poker Site

As you've just seen, there are several South Carolina online poker organizations for you to pick from. It's not our place to tell you which one is best because this determination has to be made by each individual for himself or herself. Each online poker room has its own strengths and drawbacks, and so you'll have to think about your own preferences and playing habits when attempting to select the right one. That said, we do have a list of items for you to ponder as you make your decision.

◊ If the number of simultaneously active games is one of your key criteria, then you'll be happy at Ignition or WPN, the two largest S.C. internet poker rooms.


◊ If you're looking for the biggest possible bonus, then the Chico Network is ready to grant you up to $2,500 for free.


◊ If the idea of regular rakeback returns appeals to you, then remember Horizon's 36% deal and Grand's 50% offer.


◊ If you think you deserve rewards for your long-term play, then Winning Network's Elite Benefits and Horizon's Loyalty Levels won't disappoint.


◊ If you wish to play from something other than a Windows PC, then the multi-platform software packages at Chico, Ignition, and Grand may intrigue you.


◊ If you seek an all-in-one gambling home, then Chico, Horizon, and Grand have several gaming products in addition to poker.


◊ If huge tournament paydays are what you're after, then you'll find them at Ignition and the Winning Poker Network.

 

Payment Processing

Dollar Bills

If you're fortunate enough to accrue a sizeable amount of winnings at the tables, then you shouldn't have any problems getting ahold of your cash. You can request a check, and the money will be in your hands within a few weeks. There are other payment processors that might be supported by your site, like bank transfers and debit cards, but some of them carry significant fees. You can bid goodbye to most of the fees and delays inherent in the withdrawals process by opting to conduct your poker banking in the crypto-currency Bitcoin. All of the sites that we recommend support this virtual currency. If you're a Bitcoin beginner, then don't worry because we've written a thorough guide to using BTC for online poker.

 

South Carolina Online Poker Law

Law Book

The South Carolina authorities really dislike gambling, and this is reflected in the sheer comprehensiveness of the laws against betting, which can be found in the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses, Chapter 19 - Gambling and Lotteries. The main provision that could apply to playing online poker is 16-19-40, Unlawful games and betting:

If any person shall play at any tavern, inn, store for the retailing of spirituous liquors or in any house used as a place of gaming, barn, kitchen, stable or other outhouse, street, highway, open wood, race field or open place at (a) any game with cards or dice, (b) any gaming table, commonly called A, B, C, or E, O, or any gaming table known or distinguished by any other letters or by any figures, (c) any roley-poley table, (d) rouge et noir, (e) any faro bank (f) any other table or bank of the same or the like kind under any denomination whatsoever or (g) any machine or device licensed pursuant to Section 12-21-2720 and used for gambling purposes, except the games of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist when there is no betting on any such game of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist or shall bet on the sides or hands of such as do game, upon being convicted thereof, before any magistrate, shall be imprisoned for a period of not over thirty days or fined not over one hundred dollars, and every person so keeping such tavern, inn, retail store, public place, or house used as a place for gaming or such other house shall, upon being convicted thereof, upon indictment, be imprisoned for a period not exceeding twelve months and forfeit a sum not exceeding two thousand dollars, for each and every offense.

Poker is included here under “(a) any game with cards or dice.” A 2009 court ruling overturned the convictions of several men under this law in 2006 for playing in a poker home game, noting that poker was a game of skill. However, the South Carolina Supreme Court in 2012 reversed this decision, stating that the issue of skill vs. luck was not relevant to the case. Many of the legal participants in this case commented on how vague the wording of this law dating from 1802 was, and there was some question as to whether or not it was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Toal recommended that the General Assembly revise the law to bring it up to date.

Even if we treat the game of poker as being unquestionably banned by 16-90-40, we must recognize that there are specific types of locations listed as being covered by the law. Using someone's home for gambling among several participants is probably enough for it to be considered a “house used as a place of gaming” and thus falling under the terms of this law, but it's unclear as to whether playing online poker at home by yourself is enough to transform your residence into a “house used as a place of gaming.”

Even if we assume the worst and interpret this passage as criminalizing poker played over the internet, the punishments prescribed are pretty trivial: imprisonment for up to 30 days or a fine of up to $100. Even the short stay in jail can be avoided entirely because of the rule laid out in 16-19-100, Imprisonment in case of conviction:

Upon conviction of any person under any of the provisions of Sections 16-19-40, 16-19-50 or 16-19-90, the court before whom such conviction shall take place shall commit such offender to the common jail of the county in which such conviction shall happen for a period not exceeding the time for which such offender has been sentenced, unless such offender shall sooner pay the fine or fines herein imposed, together with the cost of prosecution.

Even if the unlikely sequence of events should occur where you're arrested, booked, charged, convicted, and sentenced for engaging in online card play, you can avoid any imprisonment by paying the fine and the cost of prosecution. Making this unbelievable parlay of happenings even more remote is the fact that South Carolina has never prosecuted individuals for enjoying online poker. It's only those playing in illicit live games that have been brought up on charges. You can play internet poker as much as you want without any realistic chance of getting into legal trouble.

There's one other oddball statute that might come into play regarding online poker. It's 16-19-70:

Keeping gaming tables open or playing games on the Sabbath.

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.

This is undoubtedly a testament to the religious character of the citizenry throughout much of the Palmetto State's history. Other laws on the books prohibit setting up lotteries, the exciting-sounding “adventuring” in lotteries, selling lottery tickets, keeping unlawful gaming tables, betting on elections, and bookmaking. The longest prison sentence attached to these crimes is 12 months while the highest monetary fine of $10,000 is reserved for those selling lottery tickets. Suffice it to say, these potential consequences aren't enough to dissuade any U.S.-friendly poker operators from serving South Carolinians. Their legal counsel has undoubtedly advised them that the risks of continuing to serve the state are minimal.

Interestingly, South Carolina has gone after offshore real money gaming companies in the past. In 2011, the Secret Service, the US Attorney's Office in Greenville, and the Greenville County Sheriff's Office cooperated to bust a couple of underground payment processing companies that facilitated online poker transactions. More than $2 million was seized of which the Greenville County Sheriff's Office got to keep more than $700K. There haven't been any other high-profile actions against internet poker in the state since that time. Perhaps the authorities have been dissuaded from pursuing such a course by the Department of Justice memorandum from later in 2011 that clarified that online poker isn't a violation of the Wire Act.

 

 

South Carolina's Gambling History

Charles Town Map
Charles Town, SC, 1733

The most prominent type of gambling in early South Carolina was wagering on horse races. Owning and racing a successful horse was a marker of social prestige among the wealthy elite. Most people couldn't afford to participate directly in this sport, but they could and did place wagers on the results. Efforts to control gambling soon appeared, like the 1712 “Act Against Deceitful, Disorderly, and Excessive Gaming.” Charles Town (today called Charleston) became a center for racing horses, and the South Carolina Jockey Club is recorded as having opened a race track near the town as early as 1734. This city also hosted quite a few gambling saloons, and card games were popular. South Carolina became a leading producer of two cash crops, rice and indigo, and planters from inland would periodically sell their merchandise in Charles Town and then, their pockets flush with cash, look for entertainment at the gaming tables.

Lotteries were another form of gambling that occurred in colonial South Carolina although they were not as important as they were in New England. Most of them were local affairs rather than statewide. In 1799, the slave Denmark Vesey famously was able to purchase his freedom after winning $1,500 in a city lottery in Charleston. The public mood regarding gambling soured by the turn of the 19th century, though, and gambling at cards and other table games was banned in 1802 while the sale of lottery tickets was prohibited by an 1846 law.

For more than a century, there was no legal outlet for gambling within the state. In 1976, charitable groups were allowed to host bingo games for the first time, and this was expanded to include electronic bingo in 2004. The South Carolina Education Lottery was set up in 2001, and it has since that time generated more than $4.6 billion for educational purposes. In 2014, the charitable gambling rules were changed to add raffles to the menu of permitted games of chance.

Video poker terminals proliferated at South Carolina businesses during the '80s and '90s, and they got around state law by not having the machines themselves pay out any cash. Instead, an attendant would pay out winnings by hand. There was a lot of political maneuvering and legal battles about these machines, and finally, they were banned in 2000.

The Catawba Indian Nation has been attempting to get tribal gaming off the ground in South Carolina, but state leaders have been unenthusiastic. The Catawba filed suit in 2006, but the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled against the tribe in 2007, and so the Catawba have been unable to start a casino although it does run a bingo hall.

 

Regulation Chances for Online Poker

Manilla File Folder

The state officials in Columbia haven't shown even a glimmer of interest in regulating online poker. Usually, the presence of land-based casinos is viewed as a precursor to a state's expansion into the internet gambling realm, and there are no such facilities anywhere to be found in South Carolina. Occasional bills to permit casinos in the state have repeatedly failed. The roster of allowed real money gaming pastimes in South Carolina is slim, and there's no reason to expect online wagering to be added anytime soon. We don't foresee any state-regulated online poker market coming to fruition within the state for a long time to come.

 

Live Gaming

Logo of Big M Casino

If you're in search of offline gambling options in the Palmetto State, then you're limited to charitable bingo and raffles along with the state lottery. That's it. The only workaround for poker players is that you can board a “cruise to nowhere” on a boat owned by the Big M Casino that departs from Myrtle Beach several times per week. There's $2/$5 No Limit Hold'em that you can play while the boat is in international waters. For terrestrial gaming, your nearest option is Harrah's Cherokee Casino in Cherokee, North Carolina, but this may be too far away from where you live.

 

Final Conclusion

With a virtual drought in brick-and-mortar poker, online poker in South Carolina is an attractive alternative. There aren't any legal penalties enforced for playing, and several South Carolina online poker rooms are competing for your custom. Register at one of them and begin playing now.

 

 

Do you have an address in a nearby state?

South Carolina and Neiboring States

If you are fortunate enough to have another address in a nearby state, be it your business, vacation home, second apartment, family house, etc, you may have other online poker options available to you.  Here is a list of the states that border South Carolina and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee. For more info on internet poker rooms available to U.S. citizens in any state, take a look at our guide to online poker in the United States of America.

Ignorance is rife regarding South Carolina online poker, but you can do something about it. If you have any acquaintances, friends, coworkers, or family members whose knowledge of online poker might be lacking, please think about sharing this page with them.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

We've listed below some of the most common questions that South Carolina residents have posed regarding internet poker along with the answers. We hope to address any doubts that you have on this subject.

Global Poker: Is it legal in South Carolina?

Global's lawyers have put forth the case that the company's services are legal under federal and state law. We don't buy it for reasons that are too involved to go into on this page. You can learn more with our Global review page.

 

 


We strive to maintain this information and update it frequently with our research. However, we are not immune to making mistakes or omitting information that you, dear reader, may find of use. If you have any further questions not addressed in this guide or have noted any discrepancies or inaccuracies we urge you to contact us with your questions and concerns so that we may swiftly address them!