The South Dakota legislature has proposed Senate Joint Resolution 501 to propose an amendment to the State Constitution that would allow sports betting.
The proposed amendment would be up for state voting on in the November elections. The bill has 17 senators and 22 representatives sponsoring it. Arthur Rusch, District 17 (Clay and Turner counties) Senator, is not one of those in support.
Rusch, a retired Circuit Judge and writer, said he does not support the legislation due to past experiences he has seen from his time on the bench and even before then. A lot of embezzlement situations he saw on the bench had to do with gambling, Rusch said.
Rusch was one of 10 Senators to vote against the proposal. The bill passed the Senate with 24 yeas and 10 nays. The first reading in the House was Feb. 12.
If the voters approve the amendment, gambling on sporting events would be legalized in Deadwood. However, the State Constitution makes gambling illegal. The voters approved an amendment to make it legal to gamble (live poker, bingo and state lottery) in Deadwood and on Native American reservations.
The legal age to gamble at those casinos is 21, and 18 for simulcast gambling. South Dakota’s sports betting would be limited to those areas. Rusch said if someone from Vermillion would want to gamble on sports, they would have to travel to Deadwood to do so.
Iowa is currently the only state touching South Dakota that has legalized sports betting and reported upwards of 38 and a half million dollars wagered with nearly five million in revenue in September of 2019, according to the Des Moines Register.
Vermillion area citizens would have to travel to Deadwood to place bets or go to Iowa, which is closer. South Dakota would join 13 states who have legalized sports betting.
Nate Brown, owner and general manager of Fox Sports Rapid City and radio show host, interviewed the lead sponsor of the bill who said everyone in South Dakota would be able to place bets wherever they are but would be regulated through Deadwood and Tribal casinos.
That means that people would have to go to one of those casinos to set up an account and then bet anywhere in the state via mobile app.
South Dakota voters will have the chance to approve sports betting if the House passes the legislation come November with the potential to have sports betting in South Dakota as soon as 2021.