SC House Rep. to propose legislation allowing casinos in Myrtle Beach

File image of the South Carolina Statehouse

House Democratic Leader Todd Rutherford announced on Wednesday that he plans to introduce legislation that would allow casinos in the Myrtle Beach area.

According to a press release from Rutherford, who represents the Columbia area, the tax revenue from the casinos would be used to help fix South Carolina's roads and bridges.

The release says the casinos would be "well-regulated, upscale casinos."

Rutherford said the legislation would call for an amendment to the South Carolina constitution to allow for the casinos.

Rutherford referenced the results from the June 10th advisory questions posed to Democratic voters as evidence of public support for his idea.

There were two questions posed on the primary ballot: "Do you believe each state - not Congress- should decide for itself whether to allow online gaming and determine how to regulate online gaming in their state?" and "The South Carolina Department of Transportation estimates more than $20 billion is required to fix South Carolina's crumbling roads and bridges. Should gaming laws be modernized to fund the repairs instead of a tax increase?"

Over 70% of Democratic voters said "yes" to those questions.

Rutherford said he believes that the combination of the beaches in Myrtle Beach and the casinos would mean lots of revenue to fix the state's roads, as well as a big boost to the area's economy.

"Some of the best beaches in the world in South Carolina and there's no one that can tell me that if we put luxury, high end casinos in Myrtle Beach that it won't literally become the top destination in the world overnight," Rutherford said.

He said the state needs to come up with a new source of revenue to fix its "$29 billion road problem."

"It is time for us to look at casino gambling as a source of revenue," he said. He also challenged those who are against his plan to "tell me a better plan. Tell me what you're going to do to fix our roads."

"Allowing well regulated, upscale casinos in the Myrtle Beach area would create a new annual multi-billion dollar revenue stream that will allow us to fix our state's crumbling roads, create thousands of good jobs, and keep taxes low. House Democrats will continue to push for innovative solutions to the problems Governor Haley and her Tea Party allies have created and now refuse to address," Rutherford said in the release.