In the November election, South Dakota people voted largely in favor of legalized sports betting in the state. Experts estimated that there was a 50/50 shot of passing, and it was approved with flying colors. Now, lawmakers are beginning hearings to discuss what sports betting will look like in the state.
A lot of details need to be discussed in 2021. There was not much detail about sports betting in South Dakota when it was put up for a vote, so lawmakers need to decide on tax rates, operators in the state, and whether or not it will have online sports betting.
The South Dakota Senate State Affairs Committee heard the original sports betting bill, which allowed sports betting to occur in Deadwood and at tribal casinos. Deadwood is in the western part of South Dakota and is the state’s gaming hub.
South Dakota wanted to keep sports betting in the city as it is an attractive tourist destination where people can go to multiple casinos along with shopping, entertainment, and more. However, sports betting would also be allowed at tribal casinos, making it accessible for people across the state.
In the fall, it was unlikely that mobile betting would have any potential in South Dakota, but things are starting to turn. Multiple lawmakers filed a sports betting bill that would allow mobile betting in the state. However, South Dakota prohibits gambling outside of tribal groups and Deadwood.
The argument for mobile betting is that the servers that run online sportsbooks would be in Deadwood and tribal casinos, so depending on how lawmakers take information will be interesting to watch.
There is no doubt that online sports betting is a huge boost to states as long as there is a healthy competition among the mobile operators. Although online wagering is a long way from being a thing in South Dakota, there is hope for the state to expand gaming. Republican lawmakers in the state are against mobile betting, so it is an uphill battle for a mobile betting bill.
Sports Betting in 2021?
Given there is little detail for South Dakota lawmakers to work off of with a sports betting bill, this could be a year-long process before the state has sports betting available. Other key bills in the state need to be addressed before sports betting hits the floor this year.
The new mobile betting bill could also begin to tie up both the House and Senate in South Dakota and delay sports betting in the state. However, that remains to be seen.
For now, expect more talks of sports betting in March and throughout the spring. The state is in favor of sports betting, it comes down to how lawmakers see the new industry fit. Conservatives could make it more difficult on the industry by not wanting mobile betting and potentially limiting sports betting in other ways.
However, the bill has had hearings in the state today, making it possible for sports betting in South Dakota to launch sometime in 2021.