Amendment B is on the ballot in South Dakota for the November general election. If Amendment B were to pass, it would designate sports betting as a legal form of gambling in the town of Deadwood and at the state’s nine tribal casinos. The language of the bill is specific to Deadwood, but federal law allows the tribal casinos to participate.
There could be potential loopholes in terms of allowing online and mobile wagering. Amendment B is only an adjustment to the state constitution to allow sports betting to be classified as a legal form of gambling. Lawmakers and legislators would have to convene to see how sports betting would take place and what the tax rates and licensing fees would be.
Expansions of casino gaming have passed with regards to Deadwood before. The iconic town has a handful of approved games, including roulette, keno, craps, slot machines, and a handful of card games.
Supporters have pointed to the illegal offshore betting markets and the amount of South Dakotans wagering with those and have also pointed to states like Iowa, which have approved sports wagering and have taken money away from South Dakota as a result.
Whether or not Amendment B passes isn’t really the issue. While Deadwood is a destination and those that want to gamble in South Dakota either go there or the tribal casinos, the state’s sparse and spread-out population would really need online or mobile betting in order for South Dakota to become a decent market for sports betting.
Lawmakers and legislators may not go that route, though an approval of sports betting by the state’s voters as a whole could be indicative of their wishes to bet on sports and that could be a selling point when deliberations are taking place.
We’ll see how the voters decide, but it may be a long time until we see sports betting available to the masses in South Dakota.
Analysis of Sports Betting in South Dakota
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 as Amendment B. The bill began in the Senate and passed it through with only some token opposition.
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 by the summer of 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 then 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 by summer 2021.
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 began accepting sports bets in May 2020, so that is the secondary 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 could start happening next summer, but it can still happen in Iowa for right now.