SC House passes bill legalizing card, dice games

zmurdock@beaufortgazette.comMay 21, 2014 

Poker cats ILLUS.jpg


It will be back to fun and games soon for Sun City Hilton Head residents barred from playing canasta, bridge and mahjong by an antiquated state law, according to Sen. Tom Davis.

On Tuesday, the S.C. House approved Davis' bill amending an 1802 anti-gambling law to allow games of cards, dice and tiles in homes and clubhouses. The bill now goes to Gov. Nikki Haley for her signature, said Davis, R-Beaufort.

Davis challenged the law after a state alcohol-enforcement agent told a Sun City community manager last May that allowing gambling where alcohol is sold would endanger the facility's license, SLED spokesman Thom Berry has said.

"(The Sun City managers) went ahead and shut down the game rooms, and a lot of the clubs don't sustain their activities anymore," Davis said. "(This bill) clears the way for the Sun City property manager to let these social clubs know they can come out of the darkness."

The bill was criticized by social conservatives who argued it would lead to leniency with other forms of gambling.

That's not the case, Davis said.

Davis credits Rep. Weston Newton, R-Bluffton, for the bill's success in the House.

"So many ridiculous laws to repeal, so little time," Davis posted on Facebook.

Follow reporter Zach Murdock at

Related content:

Sen. Davis' Facebook post

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