Sports wagers would happen ‘on the premises’ of Deadwood casinos under state’s latest plan

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — State government’s proposal to let Deadwood casinos offer sports wagering was broadened Wednesday, so that people could place bets anywhere on the premises, rather than be restricted to the interior of a licensed establishment.

SB 44 will remain on hold in the Senate State Affairs Committee however, while a prison and jail impact statement is completed, said the panel’s chairman, Senator Gary Cammack, a Union Center Republican.

State Revenue Secretary Jim Terwilliger and Craig Sparrow, deputy executive director for the state Commission on Gaming, presented the legislation. “It’s a step in the right direction that would legalize this activity in the city of Deadwood,” Terwilliger said.

Speaking in support were spokesmen from the Deadwood Gaming Association and the South Dakota Retailers Association. No one testified against.

South Dakota voters in November approved Amendment B that changed the state constitution to allow sports wagering in Deadwood starting July 1. The results were 239,620 yes and 170,191 no. Tribal casinos also will be able to offer sports wagers.

Governor Kristi Noem had strongly opposed a 2019 attempt in the Legislature by then-Senator Bob Ewing, a Spearfish Republican, to put the question on the 2020 ballot. His effort died. But Ewing came back in 2020 with another attempt. It succeeded while the governor stayed out of the fight.

On Wednesday Sparrow explained to senators details of the Noem administration’s proposal. “This bill allows wagers to be placed on sporting events in a variety of manners, including in-person betting windows, self-service kiosks, portable wagering terminals and mobile applications,” he said.

Deadwood Gaming Association members worked with the state commission and department.

“It’s an exciting time for us in Deadwood,” DGA lobbyist Roger Tellinghuisen told the committee. “We’re looking forward to having the opportunity to implement sports wagering, along with the other games that are currently offered.”

Other concepts have been under discussion that would let bets on sports be placed with Deadwood casinos using remote technology from other places in South Dakota.

“We think this is a really good start,” said Nathan Sanderson, executive director for the Retailers. “Certainly there are other conversations to be had. There are other bills that are out there on different perspectives. We think this is the right perspective — this year.”

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