Support For Gaming In South Carolina Increasing
A new survey showing broad support for gaming in has reenergized pro-casino lawmakers in the state but gaming legalization continues to face strong opposition from the ruling Republican legislators.
A Winthrop poll conducted recently put to the question to state residents on behalf of a regional newspaper called ‘The State’. The findings revealed that 68 percent of the residents surveyed favour the opening of a limited number of casinos in the state, if a part of the revenue is set aside for infrastructural development projects such as road repairs. Around 30 percent voiced their disapproval of the plan, while 2 percent were unsure.
The poll results come as a new gaming bill has been introduced in this legislative session by S.C. House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, (D) Richland.
In a statement, Rutherford said
That is literally earth shattering. What South Carolinians said in this poll is that they are tired of the Republicans digging into their pockets and taking their tax money when there is another alternative.
The bill hopes to permit casino gambling in the US state enabling the retention of gambling dollars currently going to neighbouring states. However powerful Republican leaders who control the state legislature are not in favour. According to them, allowing gambling in the state would increase crime and addiction. Pointing to the incorrect predictions of the presidential election polls, the lawmakers have questioned the validity of the survey findings.
According to Sen. Shane Massey, gambling is not a solution to the state’s problems. House Judiciary Committee chair Greg Delleney said that gambling did not promote good citizenship.
The vocal opposition to the proposal makes its passage unlikely since the gaming proposal needs the state Constitution to be amended. For that to happen, two-thirds of legislators in both chambers would have to give the green light, putting the question to ballot in the next election.
Massey said that such support was next to impossible pointing out that support for allowing non-government organizations to hold raffles was itself a tough sell. Some Republican leaders believe that raising gas tax would generate enough revenue to repair the state’s roads which is a legislative priority this year.
The increased support for gaming among residents in the recent poll indicates a shift in attitude. A 2014 Winthrop poll had shown that 47.3 percent of residents approved gambling while an equal 47.3 percent opposed it. The change in support levels has been attributed to the latest bill’s proposal to use gaming revenue for repairing roads.