House panel advances measures to legalize raffles

Efforts to legalize raffles in South Carolina have taken another step forward.

A House Judiciary panel on Monday advanced measures enabling nonprofits to hold a limited number of raffles yearly. One measure would ask voters on 2014 ballots whether the constitution should be changed to allow raffles. The other outlines how a legal raffle could be run and regulated.

If voters approve the change, raffles could become legal in 2015. The Senate approved the measures last month.

Raffles are held regularly across the state anyway. But enforcement of the ban is selective, depending largely on whether someone complains to law enforcement officers.

Previous efforts to make raffles legal failed as gambling opponents feared the unintended consequences. Those opponents have signed off on the latest version.