South Dakota Renews Effort To Get Mobile Sports Betting on Statewide Ballot

South Dakotans will have to go out of state or into Deadwood to bet legally on the Super Bowl. Next year, too. But that could all change in 2025. 

A constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Kyle Schoenfish, R-Scotland, and Rep. Greg Jamison, R-Sioux Falls, would put mobile sports betting tied to licensed Deadwood casinos on the ballot in Nov. 2024. If approved, betting dollars that now go across state lines to Iowa or Wyoming could be wagered in-state in South Dakota via betting servers at the Deadwood casinos.  

It is the second time in as many years that lawmakers in the Mount Rushmore State have attempted to put legalization of mobile sportsbooks on the statewide ballot. Last year’s attempt fizzled despite geolocation data showing thousands of blocked mobile betting attempts in South Dakota before the 2022 Super Bowl. 

An estimated 6,700 people in South Dakota attempted to bet on sports’ biggest matchup between the Rams and Bengals, according to a Feb. 2022 report in the Argus Leader. 

Retail sports betting tied to Deadwood casinos launched in 2021 after voter approval in November 2020. 

South Dakota Losing Mobile Sports Betting Revenue To Iowa

Right now, South Dakota’s sports betting market is modest at best. Revenue figures showed handle for the full 2022 fiscal year (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022) was $6.12 million, with operators holding $480,305 and state revenues of $48,099. 

South Dakota making another push for legal sports betting (Photo Contributor: Ingo70)

Across the border in Iowa, things look quite different. Net receipts from mobile sports betting in that state totaled $17.6 million in Dec. 2022 alone. 

And although there are no real-money estimates on how much South Dakota is losing to Iowa by not having mobile sports betting on the books, geolocation numbers are humbling. 

GeoComply data reported by the Argus Leader in its Feb. 2022 article reveals around 70 percent of mobile bets blocked in South Dakota before last year’s Super Bowl were on Iowa sportsbooks. 

That seemed to frustrate Schoenfish, who was part of last year’s effort to get mobile on the 2022 general election ballot. The proposal – which is similar to this year’s proposal – made it through the South Dakota Senate, only to die in a House committee by a narrow vote. 

Will SD Voters Vote Yes on Mobile if Given the Chance in 2024? 

Schoenfish did not respond to Gaming Today’s email request or comment on this year’s proposed constitutional amendment. But the Senator made his feelings pretty clear last year when the Senate voted 18-17 to send last year’s proposal to the House. 

“We want people to have their burgers and beverages in Sioux Falls, not Iowa,” Fox Dakota News Now quoted the Senator as saying in Feb. 2022. “Or in Beresford instead of Iowa, Vermillion or Yankton, not Sioux City. Rapid City, not Cheyenne, Wyoming. Let’s support the businesses in South Dakota, versus the off shore [sic] sports book companies that aren’t operating legally.”

South Dakota voters might show they agree with Schoenfish, should they get the chance to vote next year. Voter approval of sports betting in South Dakota was a decisive victory in 2020. A total of 58.47 percent of South Dakotans voted in support of retail sportsbooks in Deadwood. Only 41.5 percent of voters were opposed. 

Where South Dakota voters would stand on mobile in 2024, however, remains to be seen. State funding needs would likely play into voter support. So would home team performance – or the Minnesota Vikings, in South Dakota’s case.

A great 2024 Vikings regular season could have voters wanting some skin in the playoff game — just in time for the 2025 Super Bowl. 

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Legislative Writer
Based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region, Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, Hanchett has been known to watch UK. basketball from time to time.

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