Boats and Bets: South Carolina’s Top Gambling Cruises

SC Top Gambling Cruises

Casino boats in South Carolina are one of the only refuges from the Palmetto State’s strict gambling laws. By taking players out to sea, gambling cruises can evade the state’s restrictive betting legislation.

South Carolina’s online casinos are another great option for gambling in the Palmetto State. But if you want to play games in person, you will need to leave the state’s jurisdiction, by land or by sea.

Luckily, there are great options for casino cruises in South Carolina. Keep reading to see my picks for the best gambling cruises that depart from ports in the Palmetto State.

Gambling laws have been in flux across the US in recent years. Many states have lessened their restrictions on gambling, including sports betting.

Unfortunately, The Palmetto State has lagged behind most of the other states in the US when it comes to gambling. South Carolina still forbids nearly all forms of commercial gaming, including casinos and sports betting.

Lawmakers have proposed amendments to legalize sports betting in South Carolina, but so far, they have not had any success. Luckily, you can still access online betting sites from outside of the Palmetto State’s jurisdiction.

This includes South Carolina sports betting sites and casinos. These online gambling sites aren’t physically located within the state’s borders, but they still allow residents of South Carolina to legally gamble.

South Carolina casino boats operate in much the same way as online betting sites that reside outside of the state. They are able to evade the Palmetto State’s gambling laws by offering legal gambling options to bettors and gamblers alike.

The biggest difference is that casino cruises in South Carolina physically remove bettors from the state. These floating casinos can offer slots, table games, and more by taking bettors out to sea. South Carolina laws do not apply to these cruises once they have left the port.

The Big “M” Casino

  • Address: 4491 Mineola Ave, Little River, SC 29566
  • Phone Number: (843) 249-9811
  • Official Website

One of the most famous casino boats in South Carolina is the Big “M” Casino. This cruise docks in Little River, SC, which is just north of Myrtle Beach.

It is also just south of the North Carolina border, so bettors from the Tar Heel State can also enjoy the Big “M” Casino’s services. There are two ships to choose from, aptly named Ship I and Ship II.

Ship II is the larger vessel, but both offer great real money casino games to choose from. Ship I has over 150 slots, while Ship II has nearly 250. Guests also have the option of playing great table games, such as:

  • Blackjack
  • Roulette
  • Three Card Poker
  • Let It Ride

The Big “M” Casino cruise in Little River, South Carolina, also has great promotions available. For instance, new players can get $10 in free bonus funds. There are also promotional events, like Its Ladies Night and Senior’s Day.

Comparable Online Casino Option

The Big “M” Casino is a great gambling cruise, but it is not available 24/7. If you need to practice your skills or if you don’t want to wait to play, check out Wild Casino. This gambling site has hundreds of casino games to choose from, including over 400 real money slot games.

Wild also has a great selection of table games, which rivals those available at The Big “M” Casino. There are great casino bonuses available for new players, which can add tons of extra funds to your bankroll.

Carnival Sunshine Casino

  • Address: 32 Washington St, Charleston, SC 29401
  • Phone Number: (800) 764-7419
  • Official Website

The next cruise on my list is a casino boat in Charleston, South Carolina. The Carnival Sunshine Casino is located on the Carnival Sunshine vessel. Carnival is one of the most popular cruise lines in the United States and for good reason.

This cruise is much longer than the other entries on this list, and usually lasts four days depending on your destination. The Carnival Sunshine can go to either the Bahamas or the Caribbean, so you will have plenty of time to enjoy all the casino games available.

At the Carnival Sunshine Casino, you will have plenty of table games to choose from including:

  • Craps
  • Blackjack
  • Roulette

There are also plenty of poker tables available, including high and low-roller tables. Because you will be in international waters, guests only need to be 18 years of age to gamble at this casino.

Comparable Online Casino Option

A great online alternative for fans of the Carnival Sunshine Casino is DuckyLuck Casino. This site has a wide selection of table games and even offers live dealer games. You can even try games in demo mode and play them for free.

You can use DuckyLuck to practice playing online craps, blackjack, roulette, and other table games for free before boarding the Carnival Sunshine. It has a great mobile casino app, too. So, you can practice playing right on your phone or tablet.

What Happened to the SunCruz Aquasino South Carolina Casino Boat?

Not all of the casino boats in South Carolina can be as successful as the ones listed above. Sadly, the SunCruz Aquasino’s time sailing the ocean near South Carolina was cut short in 2014.

The Aquasino started in Palm Beach, FL, but moved to South Carolina in 2010. It was a five-hour cruise that could hold 600 guests. The casino offered table games, such as poker and blackjack, along with slot machines.

SunCruz Aquasino was a popular casino cruise option near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, docking in Little River. But it ceased operations in 2014 and is no longer available to bettors in South Carolina.

Comparable Online Casino Option

The SunCruz Aquasino may no longer be in operation, but luckily Bovada is. This gambling site is a great option for players who were a fan of the now-defunct casino cruise in South Carolina.

Bovada has hundreds of casino games available including live dealer online blackjack, slots, and online roulette. You can even compete for special progressive jackpots known as Hot Drop Jackpots. This site also has one of the top online sportsbooks, so you can bet on all of your favorite sports teams too.

As a member of Bovada, you will be able to access the casino and sportsbook from your preferred mobile device or PC. This means that you can turn any cruise in South Carolina into your very own casino boat.

The SunCruz Casino boat may be closed, but you can recreate the experience using Bovada’s mobile casino app. You can even play for free because the casino offers free versions of all of its online casino games.

Tips for Players Using Casino Boats in South Carolina

Casino cruises in South Carolina are a great option for residents of the Palmetto State that want a live gambling experience. If you do decide to take advantage of the boats above, make sure you follow these casino cruise gambling tips:

Book in Advance

One of the first things you should do if you want to gamble on a South Carolina boat is book your trip in advance. The options for casino boat gambling in the Palmetto State are limited, so you will want to reserve your seat quickly.

Luckily, booking your cruise is easy to do. Both the Carnival Sunshine and the Big “M” Casino allow you to book online. This makes securing your spot on either casino cruise in South Carolina very simple.

Avoid Drinking Too Much

If you have gambled at a casino before, then you were probably offered a drink. Many casinos even give guests free alcoholic drinks to encourage gambling.

This is because alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which can cause you to gamble more. Gambling recklessly will only benefit the casino and will likely cost you your bankroll. So, if you are planning to take a South Carolina casino boat trip, make sure you watch your alcohol intake.

Stick to Your Bankroll Limits

A major part of your betting strategy will depend on your bankroll, or the money you can spend on gambling. Stretching your bankroll out will allow you to spend more time playing your favorite games on casino cruises in South Carolina.

Once your bankroll runs out, you should stop playing. If you do not stick to your bankroll, then you risk betting money you cannot afford to lose. Luckily, the casino boats in South Carolina have non-gambling activities that you can enjoy when you are done playing.

Which Casino Boat in South Carolina Will You Try Next?

Casino boats in South Carolina give residents of the Palmetto State an option for in-person casino games. There are also out-of-state gambling sites that accept South Carolina players and offer paid casino games. Both are great options for gambling while lawmakers work on new South Carolina gambling laws.

About the Author
Rick Rockwell profile picture
Rick Rockwell
Sports/Casino Writer
Blog and News
Rick has been a professional writer for over 14 years with an extensive resume spanning projects and clients from around the world. But, his passions have always been sports and sports betting. Whether it’s being a credentialed media member to major sporting events, climbing into a racecar or a pro wrestling ring, Rick’s sports and sports betting knowledge, passion and versatility is on display with each article he writes for TSG.

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