Mobile sports betting must wait at least another year in South Dakota. The House State Affairs Committee declined to advance Senate Joint Resolution 502 by a 10-3 vote.
This bill would have sent South Dakota mobile sports betting to the November 2022 ballot, bypassing Governor Noem, who has said that she would veto this type of legislation. SJR 502 had previously passed the South Dakota Senate by a single vote.
A report cited by the Argus Leader notes that nearly 7,000 people were blocked from making sports bets in South Dakota around the Super Bowl. Many of these South Dakotans were trying to access legal Iowa sportsbooks. Wyoming also has licensed mobile sportsbooks.
Deputy Revenue Secretary David Wiest claimed that when South Dakota voters approved sports betting in the state in 2020, they did not anticipate statewide mobile betting. That is an odd assumption since nearly every other state that passed similar legislation included mobile betting in the first legislative session after the referendum.
Wiest also stated that expanding sports betting to mobile devices only serves to increase revenue for out-of-state companies like DraftKings and FanDuel, according to the Argus Leader. Wiest seems unfamiliar with how South Dakota taxes gaming revenues and licensing deals that would give Deadwood casinos revenue for doing little more than creating a partnership agreement. These were not even Wiest’s worst arguments.
Some Deadwood casinos don’t support mobile sports betting
Another issue is that the Deadwood Gaming Association could not come to a consensus on expanding sports betting to statewide mobile devices. Some casinos subscribe to the antiquated thinking that internet gaming takes away from retail casinos or are not interested in participating in the sports betting market.
Deadwood sports betting action is pitiful without statewide mobile betting
In December 2021, Deadwood sportsbooks accepted $675,311 in wagers, winning about $10,000, according to the South Dakota Commission on Gaming. That same month, Wyoming mobile sportsbooks accepted about $12.3 million in bets, generating $813,000 in gross gaming revenue, according to the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission.
The story was the same in November 2021. Wyoming mobile sportsbooks accepted about $11 million in wagers for a gross profit of $1.365 million. Deadwood sportsbooks accepted $717,775 in wagers for a statistical win of about $75,000.
Wyoming’s population is about two-thirds that of South Dakota. Its sports betting handle is over 15 times that of Deadwood. Mobile betting makes all the difference. The Deadwood sports betting industry will continue to be irrelevant until it accepts the reality that it does not work without statewide mobile betting.
Deadwood casino revenues and tax collections needlessly suffer
The big losers in this development are South Dakota sports bettors that must continue either driving to other states to make mobile sports bets, or placing them at illegal offshore sportsbooks. Deadwood also lost in the deal as mobile sports betting licensing revenue would have gone towards each casino’s bottom line, while taxes from it would have funded the historical preservation of the state’s only commercial casino town.