South Dakota Lawmakers Send Sports Betting Bill To Governor

South Dakota lawmakers became the first in 2021 to send sports betting legislation to a governor when the House passed SB 44 on a 58-8-4 vote Thursday. The bill outlines the framework for legal sports betting, which was approved by voters on the November 2020 ballot.

Should Gov. Kristi Noem sign the measure, casinos in the tourist town of Deadwood would be able to add sports betting to their offerings. The bill does not allow for digital wagering and it bans betting on South Dakota college teams and some college prop bets. The state tax rate on sports betting revenue will be 9 percent. The South Dakota Commission on Gaming will be the regulator and the state will have one of the cheapest licensing fees in the nation — the bill sets the cost of a sports wagering services provider permit at $2,000.

Tax revenue will go toward the preservation of historic Deadwood.

SB 44 was only sports betting bill to survive

South Dakota is one of four states that legalized sports betting via referendum last fall, and it is the first to craft and pass legislation for its framework. After legalizing all “games of chance,” Nebraska lawmakers are defining sports betting as a game of chance, and a bill legalizing it and setting the framework is before the full legislature. Maryland lawmakers are at the start of crafting their framework for legal sports betting, and when Louisiana lawmakers go into session April 12, they will be tasked with doing the same.

SB 44 is the only one of three betting bills filed this session that survived. The other two were filed in the House and would have allowed either for statewide mobile or for sportsbooks that were in some fashion tethered to casinos to offer wagering via kiosks. Both bills died in committee.

South Dakota is surround by states that either already offer legal sports betting — Iowa and Montana — or where the legislatures are considering it this year — Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Of those, only Iowa offers statewide mobile, and should Wyoming’s bill pass, it will be the second to legalize digital-only sports betting.

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