Sports betting is coming to South Dakota if the voters want it. In early March, a resolution passed through the state House of Representatives that allows for sports betting to go on the November 2020 ballot. The bill began in the Senate and passed it through with only some token opposition.
Between March and November, policymakers will hammer out exact details with the South Dakota Commission on Gaming and put forth something more concrete.
Most people don’t realize it, but there are a ton of gaming facilities in the state of South Dakota. With a lot of tribal land, including areas like Deadwood, gaming is wildly popular in the state. One key difference between gaming in its current form and gaming in another form if sports betting were to be approved is that it would go from being an in-person experience only to being a “bet from anywhere” experience.
That is one of many things that the state legislature will look at and consider in the lead-up to the general election in November. An expansion of gambling took place in 2014 as a result of an amendment that allowed for keno, craps, and roulette in Deadwood. Will the majority pass sports betting legislation as well?
It would only take a simple majority to get sports betting in Deadwood. The expectation at present is that South Dakota would adopt a similar restriction to Iowa that forces interested bettors to sign up in person before they can access the mobile and online apps. There are a few casinos throughout South Dakota aside from Deadwood, but the bill primarily focuses on those Deadwood properties in the western part of the state.
If the measure passes a public vote, it would go into law once a final version of the rules and regulations are passed by the legislature and the governor. Betting could begin July 1, 2021.
A big part of the argument in the lead-up to the November election will be about the money leaving the state to go to Iowa. One potential hiccup is that the voters in a place like Sioux Falls are still going to find it more convenient to go to Iowa to bet than they will to go all the way across I-90 and up into Deadwood to sign up in person. Perhaps there would be some exceptions to the in-person registration, like certain sign-up locations across the state.
Ultimately, this measure is probably going to pass. South Dakotans passed an expansion of gaming just six years ago and it’s hard to imagine that a lot of opinions have changed, particularly with the increased revenue that betting would generate for the state’s needs and wants.
We’ll have to wait and see. It’s tough to say that the hard part has been done already in that it will at least go out to the voters, but now the lawmakers and the governor have to decide how this will work, which operators will be able to set up shop in the state, and how the mobile and online betting sides will be handled.
How Do I Bet on Sports in South Dakota?
With any luck, you’ll be able to start betting in South Dakota on July 1, 2021. For now, South Dakotans wait on the results of the November vote.
While waiting, residents of Sioux Falls can simply continue going across the border into Iowa to place bets on whatever they want. The same is true of any South Dakota residents around Sioux Falls that make the trip down I-29 into the Hawkeye State.
To the southwest, Colorado will begin accepting sports bets in May 2020, so that will be another option, albeit a pretty long drive. Wyoming is actually in discussions to approve sports betting and that could be something that happens quicker than South Dakota’s projected start date, so that could also be an option.
Minnesota and North Dakota are not particularly close to approving any measures to adopt their own sports betting legislation.
Patience is a virtue and it will be an important one for South Dakota residents that want to stay at home and bet. It should start happening next summer, but it can still happen in Iowa for right now.