South Dakota Senate passes sports betting amendment

15 February 2019

The South Dakota Senate has given its approval to an amendment that would legalise sports betting in one of the state's main cities.

Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR2) would amend the state’s constitution to allow its residents to place legal wagers on sporting events from inside the city limits of Deadwood in the far west of the state.

The Senate voted 18-14 in favour of the SJR2 and the amendment was passed on to state’s House for a first reading. SJR2, which was introduced last month, will now face the House Committee on State Affairs.

Although details on the proposed changes in law are yet to be published, SJR2 states that the amendment would be put to voters at the next general election in South Dakota before coming into law.

The amendment also sets out how net proceeds from sports betting would be used to help fund the historic restoration and preservation of Deadwood.

In addition to sports betting, the amendment references other forms of gambling in South Dakota, including lottery and games of chance.

Should the amendment progress further and come into law, it would allow the legislature to authorise a state lottery or video games of chance, separately by the state or jointly with one or more states.

Although this would not extend to private ownership, SJR2 does state public-spirited organisations such as charities and education bodies would be permitted to offer games of chance if all net proceeds were to go to educational, charitable, patriotic, religious, or similar uses.

Meanwhile, the South Dakota Senate State Affairs Committee has passed a bill that would allow a casino to open in Yankton.

At present, Deadwood is the only approved casino location in the state, but the bill would clear the way for a new site in Yankton. The bill passed by a vote of 5-4, without recommendation.