South Dakota Sports Betting Could Arrive With 2020 Ballot

South Dakota Sports Betting Could Arrive With 2020 Ballot

One of the nation’s most robust casino markets may have a new gaming option in the coming years.

South Dakota gaming officials have filed a proposed constitutional amendment to allow sports betting, the Rapid City Journal reports. Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association, hopes a measure could arrive on the 2020 ballot.

The petition is necessary to begin the process of amending the state constitution, which bans sports betting. It now goes to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office for approval.

If signed off by the government, it would then require signatures from voters equaling 10 percent of the total number of votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial election. That means petition supporters will need to procure about 34,000 signatures in order for the sports betting amendment to appear on the ballot in 2020.

The obstacles don’t stop there.

Lawmakers would then need to agree upon further regulatory, taxation and implementation frameworks, a process that’s been difficult in even the most ardently pro-gambling states.

That’s not to mention the voters themselves. The amendment would need majority approval from voters, which have not always supported gambling expansion in other states.

If all that goes through, the state still likely wouldn’t take its first bet until summer 2021.

Despite the hurdles, South Dakota’s gaming tradition may give gambling supporters good odds.

South Dakota Gambling Industry Seeks New Opportunity

Of all the Old West gambling towns, Deadwood, South Dakota may have been the most notorious. The final resting place of Wild Bill Hickock, the city’s rowdy reputation slowly evolved from the Gold Rush era, but more than 100 years later, the town is still a gambling destination.

South Dakota has more than 30 casinos and gaming centers, the majority of which are commercial facilities in Deadwood. A major tourism boon for the city, and state as a whole, stakeholders like Rodman have pushed to help reinvigorate the industry with sports betting.

Combined with several Native American casinos spread across the state, South Dakota has one of the more well-rounded gambling infrastructures of any state in the country.

If voters eventually approve a sports betting amendment, it could help the state further its gambling advantage over much of the rest of the region.

State Can Jump Ahead in Sports Betting Arms Race

Even though it likely wouldn’t take a bet for several years even in a best-case scenario, South Dakota’s sports betting legalization efforts now could help it stay ahead of several neighbors.

Both Minnesota and Iowa have floated ideas for legal sports betting. Both located just several miles from South Dakota’s largest population center in Sioux Falls, the two jurisdictions are keenly aware of the potential to attract out-of-state visitors, and their accompanying tourism dollars.

Across its other borders, South Dakota has the opportunity for an even bigger lead in the regional sports betting arms race.

Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota and Montana have all largely avoided any sports betting plans (and often times most forms of gambling to begin with). In a region that already lags behind the national average in out-of-state visits, South Dakota sports betting could be one means to help the Mount Rushmore State bolster its casino industry and, in turn, boost government coffers.

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