Lawmaker To Continue Fight For South Dakota Mobile Sports Betting After Bill Dies In House

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South Dakota State Jackrabbits running back Isaiah Davis (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)

Wide-scale sports betting in South Dakota won’t be happening anytime soon.

The House State Affairs Committee voted to table Senate Joint Resolution 502 until the 41st day of the legislative session, which is a nonexistent day on the legislative calendar, so it’s essentially dead. 

The vote was 10-3.

State Sen. Kyle Schoenfish, the main sponsor of the measure, was disappointed after the vote and vowed to continue the fight. 

Our coalition met after the hearing to discuss the next steps to take that will bring statewide mobile [sports] wagering to South Dakota in the most beneficial manner,” he wrote in an email to Gaming Today after the vote.  

He did not elaborate on what those plans were. 

SJR 502 could be brought back up for debate before the end of the session next month, but that is unlikely. 

The measure, which passed the Senate 18-17 earlier this month, would have placed a statewide referendum on the ballot for November. If approved, the vote would have amended the state constitution to allow for mobile betting.  

As things stand now, there are casinos in Deadwood that operate sports betting, but they are strictly retail, not mobile. 

Opposition To South Dakota Mobile Sports Betting 

The reasons for opposition for expansion are three-fold, according to Michael Card, a state politics expert at the University of South Dakota.  

First, the town of Deadwood has worked hard to keep its exclusive rights to gambling over the years. Second, he suspects voters don’t widely realize they can’t legally place bets on websites such as FanDuel and DraftKings because they often see the ads. Finally, many people in the state know the trouble a problem with gambling creates, and they don’t want that to proliferate. 

“There is significant opposition to it,” Card told Gaming Today over the phone. 

That doesn’t mean South Dakotans aren’t betting on sports already, he said.  

And this is Schoenfish’s point. 

We need to be honest and acknowledge the vote today did nothing to stop any type of gambling going on today or in the future as South Dakotans can quickly and easily place their wagers online or in neighboring states,” he wrote. 

Wyoming to the west and Iowa to the east both offer mobile sports betting. Minnesota is expected to consider legislation to bring it to the Land of 10,000 Lakes as well.

About the Author
Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today with a focus on legislation and political content. Mary is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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