South Dakota House Committee Stalls Sports Betting Measure

View of historic Deadwood, South Dakota
A bill to allow sports betting in Deadwood will before the South Dakota House through a procedural move.

30-second summary

  • House State Affairs Committee voted 7-3 against SJR 2
  • Procedural move used to send measure to the full House floor anyway
  • Sports betting decision might still be placed on the 2020 ballot
  • Proponents have the option to gather signatures to add the referendum

The House State Affairs Committee of the South Dakota House voted 7-3 against a proposal involving sports betting in Deadwood. SJR 2 would have placed a referendum on the ballot in 2020, asking voters to decide on the option. Supporters are now planning to gather signatures to have the vote place the question on the ballot. Soon after the vote, the measure was moved to the full House floor through a procedural move.

Signatures Needed

With the vote against the measure, one option now available for supporters is to gather enough signatures to see the question placed on the ballot in 2020. Mike Rodman, the executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association, spoke with committee members during the vote. Rodman said that the town needs to provide customers with the gambling products that they request.

According to Rodman, casino operators will most likely move forward with the process of obtaining signatures. Rodman said: “We just think keeping Deadwood competitive is important. 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, just in keeping the additional visitation coming to Deadwood.”

A total of 33,921 signatures will be needed to place the sports betting measure on the ballot. A constitutional change can be placed before voters in South Dakota by the legislature or through a petition. The petition would be due by November 3.

Several groups are opposed

Several groups voiced their opposition to the measure during the House Committee meeting. The Department of Revenue’s deputy secretary, David Wiest, spoke out against the idea of sports betting in the region.

Wiest said: “One of the reasons is, it’s an expansion of gambling in South Dakota. Governor Noem had made it clear that she does not wish to have gambling expanded in South Dakota. And frankly, the gaming market is probably saturated in our state.”

Bill given new life

Despite being rejected by the House Committee, the measure will now move on to the House Floor. The bill was given new life not long after the negative House vote through a procedural move that forced the bill to advance.

The South Dakota sports betting bill will now be considered on the full House floor. The bill was already passed by the state Senate. If it passes the full house, only the Governor’s signature would be needed for the measure to be added to the November 2020 ballot.

If this pathway fails, supporters can still use the signature option to get the measure voted on next year.

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