South Dakota voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide many races from president down to some local ones. There are several ballot questions this year. Allowing the legislature to write sports betting regulations is among those.
Sports betting is the subject of Constitutional Amendment B. An amendment to the South Dakota Constitution authorizing the Legislature to allow sports wagering in Deadwood and at tribal casinos starts with the title, “An amendment to the South Dakota Constitution authorizing the Legislature to allow sports wagering in Deadwood.”
The text of the proposal reads:
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. The constitution amendment authorizes the Legislature to also include wagering on sporting events as a type of gaming allowed in Deadwood. Under federal law, any gaming authorized by the Legislature to be offered in Deadwood would also be allowed at on-reservation casinos upon amendments to current tribal gaming compacts.
Voters that would like to adopt the amendment that would help create South Dakota sportsbooks should vote yes. Those that do not wish to authorize the legislature to approve South Dakota sports betting should vote no.
If approved, the state legislature would need to revisit the issue during its 2021 session. It is at that time that the discussion would take place over where to permit sports betting. It could be only allowed at sportsbooks and kiosks in Deadwood and on reservations. The South Dakota Legislature could also decide to permit mobile sports betting.
If mobile sports betting is approved, another discussion would need to take place about whether players would need to visit Deadwood or a tribal casino to create and fund an account or if it could be done on a phone. Currently, mobile horse bettors may create accounts, as well as deposit and withdraw, on apps. This would stop players in Sioux Falls from driving across the border to Iowa to bet on sports.
Gambling is undefeated on South Dakota ballot last five times
Deadwood and the video lottery are a combined 5-0 in the last five gambling ballot questions. These ranged from repealing the state’s video lottery to raising Deadwood bet limits and games. Gambling’s last defeat in South Dakota was in 1993 where a proposal that would have expanded Deadwood casinos and bet limits lost.
What would Deadwood sports betting look like?
I believe a few small sportsbooks would pop up in Deadwood. The shuttered poker rooms seem like a favorite for this. Many casinos would install kiosks or maybe write tickets at the cage instead of opening full-service sportsbooks.
The real wild card is the potential of mobile betting. That is a real game changer. Deadwood casinos would have access to players throughout the state. In addition to getting the vig off that action, a database could be created to market Deadwood casinos to these regional players. In my opinion, that is where the real payoff for sports betting is.