South Dakota Governor Approves Sports Betting


South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed Senate Bill 44 into law on Thursday, officially legalizing sports betting in the town of Deadwood. The state legislature has been working on getting a bill passed, and that finally occurred last week.

In November, South Dakota voters overwhelmingly approved sports betting, but it was up to the lawmakers to create rules and regulations to guide the industry. There were several bills introduced to begin 2021, but SB 44 emerged as the most popular option.

Bettors must do all of the sports betting in-person at the casinos in Deadwood. This is also the location of the entire casino industry in the state of South Dakota. An official launch date for sports betting has not yet been set, but it is expected to occur at some point in 2021.

September 1 has been set as an initial target date with the hope that sports betting could be offered before the start of the 2021 NFL season. South Dakota is not home to any professional sports teams, but NFL is the most popular sport to bet on in the United States.

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Deadwood Gaming Association Executive Director Mike Rodman praised the state legislature’s work in getting sports betting passed through. Rodman has been a big proponent of sports betting in the town, and he has shared some projections to help gain support.

According to Rodman, more than 150 new jobs will be created in the town of Deadwood when sports betting officially launches. He also projects that the town of Deadwood will receive more than $6 million per year from sports betting.

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Even though legalizing sports betting is a huge boost to the town of Deadwood, the final bill was a bit disappointing for sports bettors. Mobile or online betting was not included in the final bill, despite a push to legalize this form of betting.

House Bill 1231 was the piece of legislation that focused on online betting options, but all of those bets would have gone through a central location in Deadwood. The House Taxation Committee voted 11-1 to remove that bill, and the state had to settle for in-person betting.

Businesses in the state of South Dakota could have also benefitted from HB 1231 as it would have allowed for kiosks to be set up in establishments that held a liquor license.

North Dakota Looking to Capitalize

The decision to ban mobile or online sports betting in South Dakota could end up hurting the state in more ways than one. South Dakota is already leaving revenue on the table by making this decision, but the state could soon be losing revenue to its neighbor to the North.

The North Dakota House of Representatives currently has a bill on the table to legalize sports betting and another to allow online poker. Both of these resolutions would have to be passed by voters in November 2022.

These bills will be introduced to a Senate Committee for further discussion, but it appears that there is plenty of support at this time.