It’s been a busy week in the world of sports betting as Arizona has launched online wagering, Connecticut has reached federal approval, and now two new states in South Dakota and Washington have launched retail sports betting. Sports fans in those two states can place bets in person in time for the start of the 2021 NFL season.
There has been lots of excitement from local politicians about the launch of sports betting in time for the start of the NFL season. On Thursday, four casinos in the city of Deadwood, South Dakota began taking retail sports bets. There was a small ceremony about 12 hours before kickoff of the Buccaneers vs. Cowboys game on Thursday night where former State Senator Bob Ewing and Deadwood Mayor Dave Ruth placed the state’s first bets.
This retail sports betting launch has been almost a year in the making as voters first chose to legalize retail sports betting in South Dakota in a limited fashion in November 2020. The legislation was approved in the House and Senate in early 2021 before Governor Kristi Noem signed it in March. South Dakota is limited to retail-only sports betting, but mobile betting may be a future possibility.
Four sports wagering operators have received licenses in South Dakota – BetMGM, Internet Sports International, and International Game Technology. BetMGM announced its partnership with Liv Hospitality last month, and the following four casinos now offer sports betting in South Dakota: Tin Lizzie (BetMGM), Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort (BetMGM), Mustang Sally’s (ISI), and Gold Dust Casino (ISI). Deadwood Mountain Grant (IGT) is not yet ready for opening day.
Washington also saw its first retail sportsbook open on Thursday morning, in time for the Buccaneers vs. Cowboys game. Snoqualmie Casino took its first bet on Thursday and saw a long line of customers waiting to get in on the action. Snoqualmie Casino has four stations inside its sportsbook and six kiosks on the casino floor and has plans to roll out a mobile application next month.
There was quite the scene in Snoqualmie, Washington when former NBA superstar Shawn Kemp (Seattle SuperSonics) was ushered to the front of the long line to place the first bet of the day. Kemp bet on the Seattle Seahawks to win their season opener against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. The Seahawks are currently favored by about 3 points, depending on what sportsbook you use.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee first signed a bill legalizing retail sports betting at tribal casinos in March 2020, but it took several months for tribes to renegotiate their gaming compacts. Inslee signed those new gaming compacts in July 2021, and some were later approved by the Department of the Interior in an ongoing process. It also took regulators until July 2020 to finalize regulations for sports betting.
Snoqualmie Casino is one of sixteen tribal casinos to receive state approval and nine to receive federal approval. The other eight to receive federal approval are planning to launch their retail sportsbooks in the coming weeks. For now, mobile betting is only allowed on tribal land, but Washington hopes to expand its offerings to non-tribal operators and statewide mobile betting in the coming months.