Legal South Dakota Sports Betting Signed Into Reality By Governor

Posted on March 19, 2021
South Dakota sports betting
Posted By on March 19, 2021

Legal South Dakota sports betting is officially on its way.

Gov. Kristi Noem signed Senate Bill 44 into law Thursday, finalizing a journey that began with voters approving legal wagering in November.

September 1 is the target for launch in the city of Deadwood, where the bill legalizes SD sports betting.

South Dakota sports betting details

Bettors in the state will need to head to Deadwood for in-person registration. Once registered, bettors can place mobile bets on-premise in Deadwood casinos.

The registration rules likely will be restrictive to many in the state, as Deadwood is a six-hour car ride from Sioux Falls, the state’s largest city, which is near Iowa. The Hawkeye State does not require in-person registration, making that requirement onerous for South Dakotans.

The state will also not accept bets on:

  • High school sports
  • Minor league sports
  • Colleges in South Dakota
  • Prop bets on individual college athletes

Mobile sports betting outside Deadwood?

While most language suggests sports betting is limited to Deadwood, there is some unclear language. The bill reads:

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.

Theoretically, a casino could maintain a server on-premise in Deadwood, allowing for bets across the state. There is confusion and uncertainty among sources contacted by LSR. The actual location of a sports wager remains an undecided legal question.

Deadwood Gaming Association executive director Mike Rodman told PlayIA geolocation technology will limit betting to the casino properties.

How South Dakota sports betting came to be

South Dakota voters chose to legalize sports betting in November 2020. The ballot measure amended the state constitution to allow for betting in Deadwood.

SB 44 passed the Senate, 32-2, and then the House, 58-8.

Sports betting in South Dakota will also likely take place among the state’s 11 tribal casinos. Tribal casinos can offer the same options as commercial properties by law.

Neighboring states continue to peel away bets

Iowa’s proximity to South Dakota’s main population center will remain a tax drain for sports betting potential.

Wyoming also recently kept its sports betting hopes alive in 2021.

North Dakota and Nebraska legislatures also are looking into sports betting this year.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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