House bets on Deadwood sports wagering

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Deadwood

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The bettors of Deadwood may soon have a multitude of athletic events to lay their legal wagers upon.

The South Dakota House decided Thursday that sports wagering on college and professional sports should be allowed there. The 58-8 vote sends SB 44 down to Governor Kristi Noem for her review and likely approval. State senators gave their consent 32-2 last month to the 13 pages of legislation.

No one spoke against it Thursday in the House. Chris Johnson said it was “my honor” to present it. He emphasized wagers wouldn’t be allowed on high school athletics and would need to be placed while on the premises of Deadwood gambling businesses.

Bets could be made in person, at self-serve kiosks or staffed terminals, or on portable applications.

Two years ago, then-Senator Bob Ewing proposed a resolution to put a constitutional amendment on the 2020 election ballot to add sports wagering to the legal gambling that Deadwood already offered. The new governor, Kristi Noem, opposed it, however, and the resolution failed in the House after limping out of the Senate.

Last year Ewing tried again, the governor got out of the way, and this time lawmakers agreed it should go on the 2020 ballot. On November 3, voters approved Amendment B with 58% support.

Passage of the legislation means tribal gambling casinos throughout South Dakota now can offer sports wagering too.

The administration, with David Wiest making the arguments, worked to defeat two rival bills this session that would have used technology to expand Deadwood gambling statewide.

HB 1211 would have allowed people to place sports bets through local liquor-licensed establishments that had agreements with Deadwood businesses. HB 1231 would have allowed people to use the internet to make virtual sports bets in Deadwood.

Johnson said lawmakers were fulfilling a responsibility to the voters. “The Legislature spoke last year. The people spoke in November,” he said.

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