Two former statewide officials have joined together to examine whether or not the introduction of gaming in South Carolina would be beneficial. The group is called the Palmetto Forum for Gaming Studies and will be chaired by former State Superintendent of Education Dr. Jim Rex and former State Treasurer Converse Chellis, according to a press release.

“It’s time we take a serious look at alternative revenues sources in South Carolina and The Palmetto Forum for Gaming Studies will examine, in a non-partisan and objective way, whether or not gaming could play a part in delivering a new revenue stream,” Rex said.

The announcement was made at the South Carolina Statehouse. If some form of gaming were to be allowed in South Carolina, the General Assembly would have to pass legislation to allow it.

“As a former state representative, I understand how the legislative process works and as state treasurer I have seen the need for additional revenue streams,” Chellis said. “I’m not in favor of increasing the tax burden on our citizens…it’s time to be more creative.”

The group will work with state and local leaders along with the citizens of South Carolina to discuss and examine the idea of instituting gaming in South Carolina with revenue proceeds directly going to address specific state needs. 

Rex and Chellis referenced Winthrop University’s poll conducted in February 2017 which showed 68 percent of South Carolinians were in favor of allowing casinos if the revenue was used for a specific need, such as roads. “With that kind of support, the idea of allowing casinos to operate in specific areas of the state with the revenues generated dedicated to a specific need, is worth exploring,” Rex said.

Rex and Chellis plan on meeting with local leaders from across the state to discuss this issue and gather input. The group announced their initial meetings with local leaders will be held in the weeks and months ahead beginning in Horry, Beaufort, and York Counties. The group will also look at holding public forums, conducting research and doing polling on the issue.