Legislation

South Dakota Mobile Sports Betting Bill Dead, While North Dakota iGaming Advances

North and South Dakota are collectively known as the Dakotas, but residents have long had their differences. Lawmakers in the two states also have varying opinions when it comes to online gaming.

Deadwood’s casinos along Main Street, pictured here, are inching closer to incorporating sports betting into their venues. Specific regulations on the expanded gambling are still being hashed out in the South Dakota capital of Pierre. (Image: Pinterest)

During the November 2020 election, a ballot referendum asking voters in South Dakota if they wish to legalize sports betting at Deadwood casinos passed with a 57 percent majority. The successful gaming expansion measure allowed state lawmakers to move forward with crafting regulations to govern sports betting.

One of those determinations was whether mobile sports betting would be allowed. For now, it will not.

The South Dakota House Taxation Committee voted yesterday 11-1 against HB 1231. The bill, introduced by Rep. Tom Pischke (R-Dell Rapids), would have sanctioned mobile sports betting within the state, so long as the wagers were processed on servers based inside Deadwood casinos.

Committee members took issue with the wording of the South Dakota Constitution, which says legal commercial gambling must only take place “within the city limits of Deadwood.”

“Technology doesn’t change the words of the Constitution,” said David Wiest, deputy secretary for the state Department of Revenue. “The proponents of the internet betting legislation want the Legislature to expand the exemption for sports wagering statewide without asking the voters on another constitutional amendment.

“That is something quite frankly none of us can do,” Wiest concluded.

North Dakota Advances iGaming

While lawmakers in South Dakota said no to remote sports betting, North Dakota is proceeding with efforts to legalize online gambling, including mobile sports betting and interactive poker.

The North Dakota House of Representatives yesterday passed two resolutions that would ask voters in November of 2022 if they wish to legalize sports betting and internet poker. Since North Dakota has no commercial casinos, the gambling activities would be conducted fully online.

Rep. Him Kasper (R-Fargo) has been pushing internet poker in the legislature since 2005. He celebrated Tuesday’s successful House passage of the poker and sports betting resolutions.

“Sixteen years!” he exclaimed in an interview with the Associated Press.

The resolutions now head to the Senate. Republicans hold a strong majority in both chambers.

South Dakota Sports Betting Regulations

South Dakota won’t have online sports betting, but sportsbooks are on the way to Deadwood casinos. The Deadwood Gaming Association supports SB 44, which requires wagers to be placed inside the city limits.

SB 44 was approved by the Senate earlier this month. The House State Affairs Committee plans to begin reviewing the statute before the end of the month.

The Senate sports betting bill would prohibit betting on sports involving South Dakota colleges. While the South Dakota Constitution requires all commercial gambling to be conducted in Deadwood, SB 44 would potentially allow for sports betting outside the historic Black Hills Gold Rush town.

While the state constitution limits commercial gambling to Deadwood, any legal form of gambling there can be conducted on sovereign lands by federally recognized Native Americans. South Dakota is home to nine tribal casinos. If SB 44 becomes law, those venues would be permitted to offer sports betting on their premises.

Devin O'Connor

Gaming Legislation, Politics, Casino Business, Entertainment----Devin O’Connor’s passion for politics and background in the world of pop culture television give him insight into the gaming industry backstories that often drive news these days. After graduating from Penn State University with a theater arts degree, he worked at MTV Networks/Viacom from 2005 to 2010 as a writer and producer, where his credits included Total Request Live, New Year's Eve specials, and a special featuring poker superstar Daniel Negreanu. He later moved on to the HGTV/DIY Network, where he created, wrote, and produced three series specials: That's So House Hunters, That's So 80s, and That's So 90s. Devin came on board with Casino.org in 2014. He lives in Pennsylvania, and is an avid marathoner, having completed 15 races to date. Email: devin.oconnor@casino.org

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Devin O'Connor