The South Dakota state legislature voted earlier this year to put sports wagering legalization in the hands of citizens of the Mount Rushmore State. It will be decided by voters on the November ballot.
If approved, South Dakota’s tribal casinos and gaming facilities in Deadwood will be authorized to provide sports betting. The state has been trying to educate citizens on the benefits of passing the law.
Much of these efforts by the Deadwood Gaming Association have recently picked back up after a delay due to the coronavirus. The small size of South Dakota resulted in less of a shutdown than much larger states; however, casinos in Deadwood still had a short closure.
Gaming venues in South Dakota were among the first to re-open in the country, doing so in early May. They have had setbacks in education about the bill but are quick to pick back up in preparation for November.
“I think that most people would rather see that sports wagering happen in a safe, legal, regulated environment than happening illegally,” said Mike Rodman of the DGA in an interview with KOTA TV. “And I think that’s going to be the tipping point for the voters of South Dakota.”
Similar sports betting legislation was stalled in the state’s House of Representatives last year, but some had a change of heart. A lot of this has to do with growing competition by bordering states that are beginning to pass sports betting legislation.
South Dakota doesn’t have a large population or a professional sports team, but they want to keep their money in the state. Neighboring Iowa has become one of the fastest-growing sports betting markets in the country.
“It’s very clear that people have the opportunity to legally bet on sports, they want to do that, and we just want to give our customers here in South Dakota that same opportunity,” said Mike Rodman.
Several gaming expansion efforts in South Dakota have been successful over the years. In 1988 they permitted casinos, and just in 2014, they passed legislation allowing the use of craps in roulette in Deadwood casinos.
“The constitution currently authorizes the Legislature to allow certain types of gaming in the City of Deadwood: roulette, keno, craps, limited card games, and slot machines,” according to the association. “This constitutional amendment authorizes the Legislature to also include wagering on sporting events as a type of gaming allowed in Deadwood.”
Attempting To Join The Crowd
The sports betting bill will be under Constitution Amendment B, which the DGA is asking citizens to vote “yes.”
South Dakota is part of a crowd of states that is currently trying to pass sports betting. Especially because of budget deficits as a result of the coronavirus, states that have previously been unsuccessful are reviving legislation.
Sports betting is legal in 23 states and active in 18 of those. The DGA will continue its educational efforts this summer and fall. After that, South Dakota has a chance to add their name to the list of legal sports betting states in the US.