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Legal Betting in South Dakota

The answer to, "Is gambling legal in South Dakota?" is a yes, but that doesn't tell the whole story. South Dakota was the third state to legalize casino gambling, but they haven't expanded gambling since.   There is currently a referendum on the ballot in November that could see the state legalize online sports betting. If voters decide to legalize sports betting, that could lead to lawmakers exploring other expanded gambling as well. The vote in November will be extremely important.

The answer to, "Is gambling legal in South Dakota?" is a yes, but that doesn't tell the whole story. South Dakota was the third state to legalize casino gambling, but they haven't expanded gambling since.   There is currently a referendum on the ballot in November that could see the state legalize online sports betting. If voters decide to legalize sports betting, that could lead to lawmakers exploring other expanded gambling as well. The vote in November will be extremely important.

Online Sports Betting South Dakota

A bipartisan group of state senators introduced a sports betting bill in 2019, but that initial bill was voted down. The bill, SJR 2, would have created a constitutional amendment giving voters the right to choose whether or not sports betting would be legalized.

Members of the House decided to vote against the referendum, which was backed by the Deadwood Gaming Association. In 2020, lawmakers wasted little time in proposing new legislation that was similar to the bill that got shot down in 2019. SJR 501 passed through the House by a vote of 36-27 at the beginning of March.

There were seven members that were excused from the vote, meaning that the measure narrowly passed by just one vote. The bill had already easily passed through the Senate.

The South Dakota Sports betting referendum will now appear on the ballot in November, and there is confidence from lawmakers that the referendum will pass. If voters in the state vote yes on the referendum, then the state lawmakers will have to come up with legislation in 2021 to create laws to regulate the industry. 

It is unclear if sports betting online will be included when the South Dakota lawmakers begin discussing laws. All of the casinos in Deadwood will be able to offer sports betting, but federal law also dictates that the tribal casinos will be able to offer bets on sports as well.

Online Casinos South Dakota

All forms of online gambling in South Dakota are strictly forbidden, and this goes for social gambling as well. The South Dakota casino industry is large compared to the population of the state, but all casino gambling must be done on-site.

The city of Deadwood, SD, is the home to all of the commercial casinos, but there are nine other tribal casinos in operation as well. State lawmakers have not spent any time exploring online casino gambling, because they recognize that they will face stiff opposition from leaders in the casino industry. Because of the limited number of residents in South Dakota, casinos are extremely competitive in trying to keep their business.

Online Poker South Dakota

Online poker in South Dakota is not likely to happen anytime soon, especially since online casinos are not legalized either. Poker in South Dakota has a very deep history, and all of the commercial and tribal casinos are allowed to offer live poker games. 

Poker games at home are not legal in South Dakota, and it doesn’t appear that playing online poker at home will be legalized either. There are still many things that need to happen before residents can play online poker.

Daily Fantasy South Dakota

Daily Fantasy sports are not legal in South Dakota, but they aren’t illegal either. This might sound a bit confusing, but this is the case for many states throughout the country. State lawmakers have simply not proposed any legislation to legalize daily fantasy sports, and no effort has been made to regulate the industry.

South Dakota attorney general Marty Jackley made a statement in 2016 stating that he didn’t know if DFS games were skill or luck. Because of this, he stated that his office would not be charging players or operators in the state. 

Those comments were made almost four years ago and still stand to this day. There is a large daily fantasy sports presence in South Dakota, but it is not an accepted legal form of gambling.

Online Lottery South Dakota

The South Dakota Lottery is self-funded and operated by the government of South Dakota. Even though the lottery has an online website, no lottery tickets can be purchased online. Tickets must be purchased at retail locations that are authorized to sell tickets throughout the state.

A constitutional amendment was passed in November 1986, giving the government the power to create the lottery. A bill to start the game was assigned in April 1987, and the first ticket was sold on September 30, 1987. 

The South Dakota Lottery is a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association. One interesting fact about the South Dakota lottery is that no tax dollars are used to fund this project.

Other Important Gambling Facts South Dakota

Horse racing is the only current form of online sports betting that is allowed in South Dakota. The gambling industry in South Dakota was created to save the town of Deadwood.

Deadwood, SD, is an old mining town, and there was a fear that it would turn into a ghost town if state lawmakers didn’t do something to save it. Awarding Deadwood the ability to build commercial casinos was the most logical option.

Video lottery has been a major topic of debate in South Dakota over the years. The video lottery began in South Dakota in 1989 but was shut down by court order in 1994. It took a constitutional amendment later that year to restart the video lottery industry in the state.

South Dakota makes close to $10 million per year in taxes from casinos in Deadwood. Video lottery brings in close to $100 million per year in taxes, and the South Dakota lottery brings in close to $50 million annually.

Gambling In South Dakota Conclusion

South Dakota has had some very restrictive gambling laws since legalizing casino gambling in 1989, but that could all change in 2021. Sports betting is a real possibility in South Dakota, but the decision is ultimately up to the voters. If voters do allow for lawmakers to work on creating sports betting legislation, then there is hope that online casino gambling will be next.

FAQ

Yes, gambling is legal in South Dakota, but it is very restrictive. All gambling must be done at the casinos in Deadwood or at the nine tribal casinos located throughout the state. There has been some movement to amend the gambling laws in South Dakota, but the decision is ultimately left up to the voters in the state.

Gambling was legalized in South Dakota in 1989, with casinos taking bets in Deadwood that same year. At the time of legalization, South Dakota was just the third state in the United States to legalize casino gambling.

South Dakota has yet to legalize sports betting, but that could happen as early as 2021. There is a referendum on the ballot in November that would give the lawmakers in the state the power to set up a sports betting industry state-wide. At this time, it is unclear if online sports betting will be included in any South Dakota sports betting legislation.

South Dakota’s daily fantasy sports laws are a bit confusing, but the state has not legalized DFS sites or regulated the industry. FanDuel is offered to residents in South Dakota, but it is not legal, according to the state. This is similar to how other states deal with daily fantasy sports sites, although some states have started to regulate the industry as well.

Author

Tyler Peterson

Tyler graduated from the University of Texas (go Long Horns!) with a master’s in journalism. An avid sports fan from a young age, Tyler has combined his two favorite passions writing and games to bring you cutting-edge information on the betting world. When Tyler isn’t writing about sports, he likes to spend time with his golden retriever Chip and play fantasy sports in a private league with his friends.

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