Old and In the Way

Legislators in South Carolina may finally overturn a law banning social card and dice games. Retirement communities that advertise bridge and canasta social clubs actually have been breaking the law, which was passed in 1802. Previous efforts were unsuccessful due to concerns over expanded gambling.

The South Carolina House of Representatives has decided to do something about an anti-gambling measure that bans card and dice games—even bridge and canasta clubs in retirement homes. The law was passed in 1802.

A strict reading of the law indicated the playing of any social games could be considered as gambling, resulting in liquor licenses being revoked.

A House committee recently unanimously approved the measure that would overturn the 19th century law by allowing card and dice games in homes and social clubs. The bill, which already passed the Senate, was encouraged by state police who warned management at Sun City Hilton Head retirement community that their advertised bridge and canasta social clubs were in violation of state law.

State Senator Tom Davis said he would challenge the law if the bill wasn’t passed by the full legislature. Lawmakers blocked earlier attempts to legalize home-played bridge and poker games due to concerns that they would lead to an expansion of video poker and gambling.