Mobile sports betting could be on the ballot in South Dakota this November, a swift course correction in a state that launched retail sportsbooks just last year.
On Tuesday, the SD Senate Commerce and Energy Committee voted to move forward a proposed ballot measure for online sports betting. This move comes less than six months after SD sports betting launched at retail sportsbooks in Deadwood casinos.
The proposal was on the Senate agenda Thursday, but the session adjourned without discussing the item.
South Dakotans initially approved sports betting in Deadwood with 58% of the vote in November 2020. The legislature and regulators developed retail sports betting framework last year allowing Deadwood sportsbooks to open in September 2021.
South Dakota sports betting launch
With sports betting limited to casinos in a remote resort town, betting has been minimal in South Dakota. Deadwood is approximately a five-hour drive from South Dakota’s most populous city, Sioux Falls, and a three-hour drive to the capital, Pierre.
The first four months of SD sports betting action:
- September 2021: $443,365
- October 2021: $815,037
- November 2021: $717,775
- December 2021: $675,312
The almost $2.7 million handle resulted in $254,582 in operator revenue and $22,912 in state taxes.
During those same four months, Wyoming, the least populated state in the US, recorded $40.3 million in bets through mobile-only sports betting. Wyoming collected $111,914 in taxes on $4.0 million in operator revenue.
New proposal for SD sports betting
Sen. Kyle Schoenfish is leading the effort to put mobile sports betting on the November ballot after chats with lobbyists representing FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM, according to Keloland.
The ballot proposal would allow voters to choose if they want to bet online in the state through operators linked to the casinos.
The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and South Dakota Retailers Association support the idea of letting voters decide, according to Keloland.
Mobile SD sports betting opposition
The committee vote was not without opposition, passing 5-4. Several senators were against the idea of expanding gaming outside of Deadwood, largely citing addiction concerns.
David Wiest, deputy secretary for the Department of Revenue, stood against the proposal. Wiest said the state does not need an expansion of gaming.
“We’ve got the right mixture of gaming in South Dakota right now. We don’t need anymore,” Wiest said, according to Keloland.
Gov. Kristi Noem was against sports betting during the legislature’s first effort to put it on the ballot in 2019, but Noem did not outwardly oppose the successful 2020 effort.