South Dakota Just A Signature Away From Legal Sports Betting

Posted on March 5, 2021
South Dakota sports betting
Posted By on March 5, 2021

It didn’t take the legislature long to act on the South Dakota sports betting referendum passed at the ballot box in November.

The House passed SB 44 by a 58-8 vote Wednesday. That sends the legislation, which would legalize sports betting in Deadwood, to Gov. Kristi Noem. It’s likely the bill will get Noem’s signature considering 59% of her constituents approved the referendum.

The SD sports betting legislation seems a bit restrictive with only casinos in Deadwood allowed to participate, but the market will likely be larger than that based on certain language in the bill.

At the least, sports betting will also be available at South Dakota’s 11 tribal casinos. Anything allowed by a state’s commercial casinos can also be offered by tribal casinos under federal law.

South Dakota sports betting could include mobile

SB 44 was worded to allow mobile sports betting without actually calling for it:

Any sports wagering may only be conducted on the premises of a licensed gaming establishment as approved by the commission within the city of Deadwood. Each operator or route operator that is authorized by the commission to conduct sports wagering shall install and maintain equipment that is approved by the commission to ensure that all bets are placed on the premises of a licensed gaming establishment as approved by the commission within the city of Deadwood.

All a casino needs to do is keep its mobile sports betting server in its Deadwood casino. A mobile sports betting operator then could accept bets from anywhere in the state, in theory. This idea is not certain in state or federal law.

In-person registration could limit market

There’s one piece of SB 44 that could hold South Dakota sports betting back:

A person who opens an account for advance deposit sports wagering with an operator or route operator shall establish the account in person at the operator’s or route operator’s licensed gaming establishment within the city of Deadwood using an application approved by the commission.

In-person registration means the tax dollars currently flowing into Iowa will likely continue to do so. Deadwood is nearly six hours from the eastern border of the state. Given Iowa now allows mobile sports betting registration, it’ll be easier for those near Iowa to start or continue betting in Iowa than making the trip to Deadwood.

What’s banned under SD sports betting

Most typical bets will be allowed under South Dakota’s sports betting legislation. High school sports, of course, cannot be bet on like in all other legal states so far.

There are a couple of other banned markets:

  • No betting on minor league sports.
  • No betting on colleges in the state of South Dakota.
  • Prop bets on the performance of an individual college athlete are also not allowed.
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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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