Deadwood sports betting is in the hands of voters

DEADWOOD, S.D. — The legalization of sports betting in deadwood is now in the hands of the voters. A measure approved by the state legislature places the issue on the November ballot.

While gambling is a large part of South Dakota and Deadwood’s history, it was only legalized in November of 1989. What was not legalized, was sports wagering … but the Supreme Court ruled that a ban against sports wagering was unconstitutional in May of 2018. Since that time, 21 states either allow sports wagering, or have started the legislative process to legalize it.

Mike Rodman, the Executive Director of the Deadwood Gaming Association said, 

“Around South Dakota, Iowa started it in August, Montana’s approved it to start sometime here in March, and Colorado is going to start it in May. So, for Deadwood to stay competitive as a gaming destination, we would like to have it here in Deadwood as well. Our customers are asking for it, and we would like to provide those products our customers are asking for.

Lee Harstad, Executive Director of the Deadwood Chamber & Visitors Bureau, Lee Harstad, also believes adding sports wagering will boost revenue and tourism in the Black Hills.

“By having sports wagering in Deadwood, what that will do, that will benefit all of our existing attractions and businesses by offering just another thing that our visitors can do when they’re in the community,” says Harstad. 

Tourism accounts for a large portion of Deadwood’s revenue, and adding sports wagering could bolster popularity among neighboring states, as well as have a positive impact on the Black Hills as a whole. This legislation would also be extended to tribal casinos, but otherwise does not guarantee legalization outside of Deadwood, which could be a concern for some.

“What we’re seeing from those jurisdictions that have added sports wagering, is it increases their overall gaming, it increases hotel stays, food and beverage revenue, so it’s just been a big shot in the arm for those jurisdictions that have added sports wagering,” says Rodman. 

Another concern officials address is the expansion of gambling. Sports wagering is considered to be just another game, and nothing more. Officials admit that sports wagering is already happening in South Dakota, this would just allow it in a legalized and controlled setting. Pending approval by voters in November, the earliest sports wagering would possibly come to South Dakota would be July of 2021.


Categories: Local News, South Dakota News