Feel The Rushmore: SD Sports Betting Could Make The Ballot

South Dakota Sports Betting Amendment Would Let Voters Choose Legal Wagering

South Dakota sports betting

State legislators introduced a constitutional amendment this week to put South Dakota sports betting on the ballot.

A bipartisan group of state senators dropped SJR 2, which would ask South Dakota voters to legalize sports betting in Deadwood. The measure would limit South Dakota sports betting to Deadwood casinos, and not include any mobile sports betting.

The 11 tribal casinos in South Dakota also would gain sports betting if the measure passed. State law allows tribal properties to offer all legal forms of gambling in South Dakota.

Inside the South Dakota sports betting amendment

Legal sports betting only occupies a small piece of the proposed measure. It largely cleans up language related to what “public-spirited” organizations can offer games of chance for charitable purposes.

One amended paragraph at the end, though, would create legal South Dakota sports betting — emphasis added to highlight changes:

The Legislature may authorize by law, roulette, keno, craps, wagering on sporting events, limited card games, and slot machines within the city limits of Deadwood. The entire net Municipal proceeds, adjusted annually for inflation, of authorized roulette, keno, craps, wagering on sporting events, card games, and slot machines shall be devoted to the Historic Restoration and Preservation of Deadwood.

Fiscal analysis shows potential revenue

The amendment submitted by the legislature closely tracks a potential 2020 ballot measure backed by the Deadwood Gaming Association. That petition still needs requisite signatures to qualify for the ballot, but might not be needed if the legislative proposal passes.

A related fiscal analysis by the South Dakota Legislative Research Council estimates Deadwood sports betting revenue starting in FY 2022:

  • Revenue: $2,051,972
  • Taxes: $184,678

South Dakota taxes gross gaming revenue at 9 percent. The analysis expects more than $100 million in total gaming revenue for Deadwood in FY 2022.

How South Dakota would benefit

It continues by breaking down the distribution of that estimated tax revenue:

  • State General Fund: $77,975
  • Tourism Promotion Fund: $65,663
  • Lawrence County: $ 16,416
  • City of Deadwood: $8,208
  • Municipals in Lawrence County: $8,208
  • School Districts in Lawrence County: $8,208

Expanding beyond Deadwood?

That does not include any sports betting beyond Deadwood. A Sioux Falls Argus Leader article last month explored whether the state lottery could offer sports betting via the state’s video lottery terminals. Roger Tellinghuisen, who represents the Deadwood Gaming Association, said the group opposes such a plan:

“I can’t argue there wouldn’t be more revenue to the state,” he said. “But the move you bring up with video lottery, you’re bringing up all of the objections to video lottery as a whole.”

“At least by containing it in Deadwood, it’s just one of several games offered,” he added. “I don’t think there’s as big of an outcry about problem gaming.”

Deadwood gambling became legal in 1989 as a means of economic revitalization for the historic town.

Adam Candee
- Adam Candee is the managing editor of Legal Sports Report. He covers sports business and news from Las Vegas. Adam is a former editor and reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, Arizona Daily Sun and KLAS-TV. He can be reached at [email protected]