The House State Affairs Committee in South Dakota voted 7-3 on Monday to send the most recent sports betting proposal to the 41st legislative day, which means it is effectively killed. However, Deadwood Gaming officials aren’t giving up yet.
The committee’s decision to vote against the bill came as a surprise, given the wide support it received at all levels. In fact, the Senate Affairs Committee voted to allow sports bets in Deadwood in February by a 5-4 vote.
Officials from Deadwood said they will most likely go after an initiated measure for the 2020 ballot to see if sports betting should be legal in South Dakota. Mike Rodman, who is the executive director of Deadwood, says that now that Senate Joint Resolution 2 has been defeated, they will probably start collecting signatures to achieve a ballot measure.
Rodman said after the vote that they are looking into all possible options to garner support, and they will collect 34,000 signatures to have the measure added to the state’s ballot for 2020:
“We believe that people have a right to have their say in sports betting and we want to give them that opportunity.”
Even if they can successfully gather enough signatures, there will still be a lot of work for the bill’s supporters. Governor Noem is against sports betting and will do what she can to stop legal sports gambling from ever coming to her state.
Supporters of legal sports betting in the state say that South Dakota won’t expand gambling because there are a limited number of device licenses granted to Deadwood operators. One big opponent to legal sports gambling is the Department of Revenue, because officials there don’t believe that the activity would bring in enough tax revenue to be worth the cost to regulate sports gambling.
According to Revenue Deputy Secretary David Wiest, a specially trained staff member would need to be hired, specifically with experience in regulating sports betting.
In May 2018, the Supreme Court ruled the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional and said that individual states were entitled to institute their own laws surrounding sports betting. This ruling meant that for the first time in 26 years, sports betting is now legal in states that choose to legalize it.
Delaware, New Jersey, and several others jumped on the opportunity in the last 9.5 months to legalize and open up operational sportsbooks. Still, many others are working on legislation now to legalize the activity.
In 1989, South Dakota was the third place in the United States to legalize gambling. So, it seemed like a natural fit to expand their gaming activities to include sports betting. Unfortunately, 30 years later, the state is failing to see the potential of this venture unlike their perspective in the late 1980’s. With so much opposition, especially from the Governor, it appears that sports betting is unlikely to be passed in South Dakota for at least a few more years.
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