Voters chose to legalize South Dakota sports betting in November 2020, but only in a limited fashion. Four casinos in the city of Deadwood began taking retail sports bets on Sept. 9, 2021.
In 2021, Legislators satisfied voter wishes and passed legislation legalizing sports betting in the city of Deadwood. Gov. Kristi Noem signed the bill into law in March. While there is some grey area in the legislative language, sports bettors must wager on-premise at Deadwood casinos.
A 2022 ballot proposal effort to expand sports betting to statewide mobile died in the House after the Senate narrowly approved SJR 502.
Under federal law, any gaming authorized in Deadwood would also be allowed at on-reservation tribal casinos upon amendments to current tribal gaming compacts.
The future of South Dakota sports betting
In 1989, South Dakota legalized gambling in Deadwood to revive the historic mining town immortalized in the HBO show of the same name.
The South Dakota constitution authorizes the legislature to allow roulette, keno, craps, limited card games and slot machines in the 25 casinos located in Deadwood. The 2020 ballot question added sports betting to that list.
The first sports bets were placed in September 2021. Bets are currently limited to casino properties in the casino town, and there is no indication mobile expansion is in the immediate future.
However, Deadwood is far from Sioux Falls, the most populous city in the state. There are 11 tribal casinos across South Dakota.
When will online sports betting launch in South Dakota?
Current legislation limits SD sports betting to brick-and-mortar properties in Deadwood, and thereby on tribal reservations as well.
“The rules allow for [on-premise mobile], I’ll be curious if any jump onto that,” Deadwood Gaming Commission Executive Director Mike Rodman told LSR in July 2021. “South Dakota is a pretty conservative state, so we have a go slow approach. Maybe sometime in the future we’ll see statewide mobile. We have to prove ourselves in Deadwood and do a good job.”
That puts South Dakota at a disadvantage compared to neighboring states such as Iowa and Montana, where online wagering is legal. Neighboring Wyoming also legalized mobile sports wagering during the 2021 legislative session.
Recent South Dakota sports betting news
Legal sports betting options in South Dakota
Legal sports betting in South Dakota started Sept. 9, 2021, as four casinos in Deadwood opened their retail sportsbooks. Mobile betting is not allowed outside those establishments.
There are illegal offshore websites that offer wagering in South Dakota. They do not hold a license from any US jurisdiction to legally accept bets from residents. These websites long have operated in violation of federal law in America.
Without regulation from the state, these offshore betting apps can’t be counted on to pay out winnings and have been known to disappear with people’s money.
The only safe and regulated way to bet on sports in the US is with a licensed operator.
Most popular sports to bet on in South Dakota
There are no major professional sports teams or major collegiate programs in the state.
As in most of the US, the NFL is the most popular sports league to watch and bet on in South Dakota. The nearby Minnesota Vikings are the favorite team among South Dakota residents.
The state also attracts a lot of tourists to Mount Rushmore and Deadwood who would bring their own allegiances into sportsbooks.
South Dakota and Daily Fantasy Sports
South Dakota doesn’t regulate daily fantasy sports but allows the industry to operate in a gray area.
In 2015, the South Dakota attorney general let it be known that he would not pursue any type of criminal action regarding DFS operators.
As a result, major daily fantasy sports sites such as DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo! daily fantasy and Fantasy Draft operate in South Dakota.
Is horse racing legal in South Dakota?
Yes, but the industry is floundering to the point that there have been no horse races in South Dakota for more than a year.
Horse racing has a small but long history in South Dakota with horse betting going on since the 1950s.
Fort Pierre and Aberdeen racetracks offered limited events up until 2019, when they did not run races due to a lack of funding, wet weather and other issues.
An off-track betting facility called Triple Crown Casino operates in North Sioux City, offering wagering on races happening throughout the US.
South Dakota sports betting timeline
A ballot proposal that could allow South Dakotans to approve mobile sports betting in November 2022 was passed by the Senate in February. It faced an uphill battle in the House after barely escaping the Senate.
A House committee voted against the proposal, keeping SD sports betting limited to Deadwood casinos.
With voter wishes behind them, legislators passed legislation legalizing sports betting in Deadwood.
With Gov. Kristi Noem‘s signature, the state’s regulators worked quickly on industry rules. A first set was approved in June, while a second, more detailed set received legislative approval Aug. 2.
A ceremonial first sports bet was placed at Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort on Sept. 9, 2021, just in time for the 2021 NFL season.
The Senate tried again with a similar sports betting resolution in 2020, and this time it received a better reception in the House.
The effort to put SD sports betting at Deadwood casinos in front of voters began in 2019.
The ballot question introduced by a bipartisan group of state senators would have been part of a larger proposal.
A fiscal note by the state Legislative Research Council estimated that Deadwood sports betting revenue would amount to about $2 million annually with about $185,000 going to the state in taxes.
South Dakota sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in South Dakota?
Yes, on casino properties in Deadwood.
Who would oversee sports betting in SD?
The South Dakota Commission on Gaming oversees sports betting.
Are mobile wagers allowed?
Yes, but only on casino property.
Who will be able to bet on sports in South Dakota?
The legal gambling age in South Dakota is 21.
There are some sports betting websites that say they accept bets from the United States. Are those legal options?
No. All US sportsbooks are licensed at the state level. Offshore operators suggest betting from anywhere in the US is allowed. It is not legal for those sites to accept bets from US citizens and those sites offer no protection to those who bet on them.