Legal South Dakota online betting options consist of parimutuel horse racing betting and daily fantasy sports.

Sports betting is not yet legal in South Dakota, but voters are set to decide on the issue in November 2020. A joint Senate resolution was successful in adding a referendum on the November ballot in which voters will be able to vote yes or no to allowing Deadwood casinos to offer sports betting.

Whether or not mobile sports betting will come to South Dakota remains to be seen. The November referendum question will only ask voters if sports betting should be legalized within the city limits of Deadwood.

If a majority of voters approve, the legislature will then get to work drafting a new law that will determine how sports betting is conducted in South Dakota, including whether or not mobile betting offered by Deadwood casinos would be permissible under the amendment.

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Sports Betting in South Dakota

South Dakota voters will have the opportunity to legalize sports betting in November 2020.

Senate Joint Resolution 501 was approved in March 2020 to put sports betting on the November ballot as Amendment B. The question will ask voters if the South Dakota Constitution should be amended to authorize “wagering on sporting events” within the city limits of Deadwood.

It is unclear at this time if that would allow Deadwood casinos to offer statewide mobile betting. If voters approve the amendment, lawmakers will have to determine if mobile betting offered by casinos would still be considered to take place “within city limits.”

Should voters approve the measure, lawmakers will reconvene next year to draw up new legislation to regulate the industry. After that legislation is drawn up and approved, the future of South Dakota sports betting will come into focus.

Deadwood Gaming Association Executive Director Mike Rodman told the Black Hills Pioneer that although details are limited at this time, he believes sports wagering will be taxed at the same 9% rate as other gaming revenues.

He also pointed to Iowa and Colorado as examples of other states that use digital technology to offer mobile betting within state lines. He also noted that more precise geofencing technology could be used to permit mobile wagers to be placed within specific locations “if other organizations wanted to be part of sports wagering.”

There is still much to learn, but more details will emerge once the legislature begins drawing up new legislation if voters approve Amendment B in November.

Fantasy Sports

South Dakota have never fully addressed the legality of fantasy sports, but all major operators accept customers from South Dakota and have done so for years with no pushback from the state.

State law prohibits gaming of any type in which anything of value is wagered, but South Dakota has traditionally exempted all contests of skill from the prohibition. The question of whether or not fantasy sports contests quality as games of skill has never been definitively answered in South Dakota, which leaves DFS sites on uncertain legal ground.

However, the nation’s biggest operators do have reasons to believe the state will not be taking action against them any time soon. In 2015, then-Attorney General Marty Jackley issued a statement explaining the uncertain legal status of fantasy sports.

The statement did not provide a firm legal opinion on fantasy sports, but AG Jackley did say he had no intention of taking action against DFS providers in the near future. The AG did leave the door open to take action should the South Dakota Gaming Commission provide guidance declaring fantasy contests illegal, but the issue has never been brought up since.

Today, South Dakotans can join any number of fantasy sites to play online for real money. The risk of legal action being taken against DFS operators appears very low at this time.

SD Horse Racing Betting

Parimutuel horse racing betting is permitted in South Dakota at live races, one off-track betting location and online through advance deposit wagering operators (ADWs).

The South Dakota Commission on Gaming oversees horse racing and parimutuel wagering across the state, issues licenses to operators and drafts regulations governing the conduct of all parimutuel activities.

Online Horse Racing Betting

Advance deposit wagering (online betting) is permitted in South Dakota and the rules of wagering can be viewed here. Numerous licensed betting sites operate in South Dakota and permit bettors to wager on races held around the country.

The most popular horse racing betting sites available in South Dakota include:

South Dakota Racetracks

South Dakota does not have a very active live racing scene, but races are held each spring at two fairgrounds:

Off-Track Betting

South Dakota is home to just one off-track betting facility:

SD State Lottery

south dakota lottery

The South Dakota Lottery was established in 1987 and sold its first tickets later that year. Video lottery terminals were authorized in 1989 as an additional method to raise money. Today, there are roughly 8900 VLTs hosted across nearly 1500 establishments across the state.

VLTs in South Dakota act just like regular slot machines with income going back to the lottery and eventually state coffers. Machines accept a maximum bet of $2 per game with a maximum prize of $1,000. Winnings are returned to players in the form of a receipt which is then taken to the establishment’s cashier to be redeemed for cash.

The SD lottery does not sell tickets online and it does not offer a subscription service. The lottery website plainly states that nobody is permitted to sell tickets online. Any website that you run across offering online tickets is either a scam or completely unregulated, so it’s best to avoid going that route.

South Dakota Gambling Laws

All gambling hosted outside of licensed casinos, racetracks and betting sites is considered unlawful in South Dakota. State statutes appear to have no exemption for social games played at home, such as private poker games played among friends. Section 22-25-1 of the Codified Laws has this to say about gambling:

Any person who engages in gambling in any form with cards, dice, or other implements or devices of any kind wherein anything valuable is wagered upon the outcome, or who keeps any establishment, place, equipment, or apparatus for such gambling or any agents or employees for such purpose, or any person who knowingly lets any establishment, structure, place, equipment, or apparatus for such gambling is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

A successful prosecution of a Class 2 misdemeanor can result in 30 days in jail, a $500 fine or both. This penalty can be applied to both the players and/or the person hosting a game. This law has never been used to prosecute someone for playing at unlicensed offshore sites even though it could in theory be interpreted to apply to online gambling.

One of the indications that South Dakota won’t have online casinos or poker sites any time soon is a piece of legislation that specifically targets online gambling. Section 22-25A-8 prohibits the establishment of any business that conducts gambling over the internet:

Establishment of internet gambling business prohibited. Except as provided in § 22-25A-15, no person may establish a location or site in this state from which to conduct a gambling business on or over the internet or an interactive computer service.

Furthermore, the statute explains that any wager that originates or terminates within the state is considered a separate violation under the law. Section 22-25A-10 makes it a Class 6 felony for the first offense and a Class 5 felony for all subsequent offenses. What this all means is that the owner of an unlicensed gaming site in South Dakota could quickly rack up a large number of felonies and face serious time in prison.