The legalization of sports betting in South Dakota is now in the hands of the voters. But if you're a resident of the Mount Rushmore State, don't get your hopes up that it happens any time soon.
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way in May 2018 for states to legalize sports betting, striking down a 1992 federal law that had prohibited most states from authorizing this form of gaming.
Some jurisdictions quickly opened the doors to the industry. Others — like South Dakota — are in favor of the move but require lengthy legislative action, including a constitutional amendment, before anyone can bet on the Super Bowl.
While residents can currently place their bets on top-ranked online sites like Bovada, it may be until the summer of 2021 before a bettor can walk into a land-based casino and purchase a ticket on college or professional sports in South Dakota.
Betting Laws in South Dakota
Almost 900,000 people live in South Dakota, which is located on the Great Plains of North America. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of about 183,000, is South Dakota's largest city.
South Dakota gambling laws — whether it's betting on horse racing at an off-track betting site or playing video poker at the Triple Crown Casino in Sioux Falls — are regulated at the state level by the South Dakota Gaming Commission.
All legalized gambling in South Dakota is limited to the following areas:
- Casino gambling
- Tribal gambling
- Pari-mutuel wagering
- Social gambling
- Charitable gambling
The legal age of gambling in South Dakota is 21 years of age for tribal casinos and Deadwood casinos and 18 years of age for simulcast and live horse racing.
Deadwood was once most famous for being the home of Wild Bill Hickok who was shot to death while playing cards in the No. 10 Saloon. The first casinos in Deadwood opened on November 1989. Many of the casinos are located in historic structures and the area has become a tourism hotspot, with all its gambling venues and other nearby attractions like Mount Rushmore about an hour south and Sturgis, known for its famous annual motorcycle rally, about 20 minutes east.
Today, there are more than 40 casinos in the state, including about a dozen tribal venues. These Indian casinos are owned and operated by eight federally recognized North Dakota tribes and one federally recognized South Dakota tribe.
Slot machines, as well as blackjack, roulette, craps and poker are only permitted at Indian and Deadwood casinos in South Dakota. Unless otherwise noted, all South Dakota casinos are open 24 hours and all offer slot machines and video poker.
South Dakota permits pari-mutuel wagering on horse and greyhound racing. Betting is available both on-track and off-track. Simulcast wagering is available year-round from dozens of thoroughbred and greyhound tracks across the country. Live horse racing is offered each year at a few meets at the Stanley County Fairgrounds in Ft. Pierre and the Brown County Fairgrounds in Aberdeen.
The last greyhound track, Sodrac Greyhound Park, closed in 1994. The last horse racetrack, Park Jefferson, closed in 1982.
Match 3 was the first lottery game offered in South Dakota in September 1987. It was another three years before the state lottery offered draw tickets.
Today, there are multiple state draw games, including Dakota Cash. South Dakota also participates in popular multi-state games Powerball and Mega Millions.
The minimum age to buy tickets is 18; however, video lottery players must be at least 21.
South Dakota Sports Betting Laws
Many forms of gambling are legal in South Dakota. Sports betting will likely be joining the list, it's just going to take some time to get to the voters. It appears that date could be November 2020 before residents of South Dakota vote on the issue.
"It's (sports betting) not a big money-maker," said Larry Eliason, executive secretary of the South Dakota Gaming Commission. "But it gives us some great marketing opportunities for the Super Bowl and March Madness."
The push comes after the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018 cleared the way for all states to offer legal sports betting. It's not expected to hand the state a major tax windfall, but supporters say it would help keep South Dakota attractions like the historic town of Deadwood competitive as a gambling destination.
Many residents aren't waiting on legislation to clear the way to make bets at a land-based casino. Others have moved on to top-ranked online sites like Bovada to play the money line or point spread on all the major sports events.
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South Dakota's Favorite Sports Teams
South Dakota does not have any major professional sports teams of its own, but it's not too far to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to the east, Kansas City, Missouri, to the southeast or Denver, Colorado, to the southwest.
Sports fans in South Dakota will find plenty of football teams to cheer for and bet on in these cities, including the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos. Minnesota actually has a professional team in all four major sports — the Vikings, Timberwolves (NBA), Wild (NHL) and Twins (MLB).