Mobile South Dakota Sports Betting Ballot Measure Clears Senate

Written By Pat Evans on February 8, 2022
South Dakota sports betting

A ballot proposal for mobile sports betting in South Dakota is on to its next step.

The Senate passed the proposal, SJR 502, Monday. Following the narrow 18-17 passage, it will face a likely similarly split House.

The resolution would give voters in the state the opportunity to approve mobile sports betting in South Dakota in November. Voters approved sports betting in the city of Deadwood with 58% of the vote in November 2020. Retail sportsbooks opened in Deadwood in September 2021.

Mobile SD sports betting expansion support

With sports betting limited to casinos in Deadwood, sponsors suggest illegal online betting is rampant. The proposal allows for bets to be placed anywhere in the state on mobile devices through apps tied to the Deadwood casinos.

“Sports wagering is here and prevalent,” bill sponsor Sen. Kyle Schoenfish said. “With this vote, we can have it in the safest, smartest manner that will give South Dakota the most benefit.”

Other supporters of the bill include the Sports Betting Alliance and the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. The Deadwood Gaming Association did not declare a position on the resolution.

Opposition strong in South Dakota

During a committee hearing last week, Gov. Kristi Noem‘s office was represented by David Wiest, deputy secretary for the Department of Revenue.

“We’ve got the right mixture of gaming in South Dakota right now,” Wiest said. “We don’t need anymore.”

Noem did not explicitly oppose the 2020 ballot proposal, but she has come out against sports betting before. Other senators want to avoid widespread gaming addiction they claim comes from legalized sports betting.

“When you can gamble away the income for your family to put food on the table, that’s a problem,” Sen. Wayne Steinhauer said. “We’re trying to finance our state on the backs of those that have a problem.”

While some legislators are against gaming expansion, others also want to expand through kiosks at bars and restaurants across the state instead.

South Dakota sports betting so far

The first four months of SD sports betting generated $254,582 in operator revenue off nearly $2.7 million in bets. That sports betting revenue resulted in $22,912 in state taxes.

South Dakota’s neighbor and least populated US state, Wyoming, took $40.3 million mobile bets in those same four months. That handle generated $4 million in operator revenue and $111,914 in state taxes.

Wyoming has fewer than 600,000 people, while South Dakota’s population is approximately 900,000.

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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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