People of South Dakota wanting to ‘legally’ wager money on sports are going to have to wait. On Monday, the House State Affairs committee defeated Senate Joint Resolution 2, which would have allowed the citizens of the Mt. Rushmore state to decide on legalizing sports betting during the general election of 2020. Instead, the house panel voted 7-3 in favor of killing the legislation.
Opponents of SJR2 believe sports-betting is an expansion of gambling, while proponents claim it would keep South Dakota, and more specifically Deadwood, competitive throughout the year.
“The real financial benefit for Deadwood will be the increased visitation, the additional hotel stays, restaurant meals, that’s where we envision the financial benefit for Deadwood,” said Mike Rodman, Deadwood Gaming Association President. “Just keeping the additional visitation coming to Deadwood.”
Just last May, the United States Supreme Court overturned a 1992 federal ban on sports betting, which has opened the door for individual states to decide on the legality of the activity. This has created a nation-wide discussion by many different organizations and groups. In just the last nine months, eight states have already ruled on legalizing the money wagering of sports.
SJR2 narrowly passed the Senate State Affairs committee (5-4) in early February, and was then passed by the full Senate chamber (18-14) a couple weeks ago.
So what’s next? That’s a good question. With this being the first attempt at legalizing sports betting in South Dakota, I think it’s safe to assume that the discussion is far from over. It's under the assumption that the industry will go next to the petition process.