February 23, 2021 3 min read


South Dakota Dismissed Sports Betting at Bars and Restaurants

A proposal to allow bars and restaurants and other establishments holding a liquor license in South Dakota to accept sports wagers on behalf of Deadwood casinos was dismissed Monday by state legislators.

Sports Betting at Casinos Only

The proposed by Rep. Mark Willadsen HB 1211 was voted down 9-4 in the House State Affairs Committee as the Department of Revenue in South Dakota stood behind SB 44 which requires sports betting take place strictly on the premises of casinos in Deadwood.

Willadsen asked the Legislature to allow bars and restaurants and other any establishment which hold a license to sell alcohol for on-site consumption, to be authorized to accept bets on sporting events on behalf of one of the Deadwood casinos. Betting would take place on a contract basis with the casino and via a kiosk on –site.

The proposal met resistance from Deputy Secretary of the state’s Department of Revenue David Wiest who argued the amendment would open up betting for all 1,186 alcohol-selling establishments outside of Deadwood, while the November Referendum vote allowed sports betting inside Deadwood casino properties.

“We believe that it is clear that the phrase quote ‘within the city limits of Deadwood’ unquote means that you must physically be in Deadwood to play limited card games, slot machines, roulette, keno or craps, or to place a wager on a sporting event.”

David Wiest, Deputy Secretary, Department of Revenue

If accepted, HB 1211 would have allowed 901 municipal and 219 county bars, 29 convention centers and 37 full-service restaurants to accept sports wagers, Wiest explained, asking the question whether state residents voted to permit so many places across South Dakota have sports betting.

Technology Argument Failed

Willadsen, whose proposal would have created an alternative to an Iowa casino from Sioux Falls and tribal casinos in South Dakota, argued that as much as the casino in Deadwood is in control of the sports betting process, the measure complies with the vote.

“By using this technology, the bets are placed or rejected in Deadwood. We’re just using technology to get there.”

Rep. Mark Willadsen

Republican Rep. Tim Goodwin from Rapid City expressed the opinion that expanding betting to all liquor-selling establishments would be against the public vote, an opinion backed by Democratic Rep. Oren Lesmeister from Parade who added such an amendment would require another referendum.

Major opponent of HB 1211 David Wiest noted he would be in the House Taxation Committee to oppose HB 1231 and block the opportunity for South Dakota residents to place wagers over the internet to a casino in Deadwood.

Meanwhile, Keating Resources, a company which bought the largest historic building in Deadwood, Deadwood Dicks, for $7.5 million in December last year, announced recently the renovation of the 35,000 square-foot building spread across 5 levels to make it a modern sportsbook should complete by the end of 2021.

According to plans, the venue will include an additional 30 extended stay hotel suites, a 7,000 square-foot entertainment area and courtyard, as well as day spa and meeting rooms, and should be ready to open the day after Thanksgiving 2021.

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