A bill to amend the constitution of South Dakota in order to allow sports betting has passed the state senate by a vote of 24-10.
The bill, SJR501, was introduced by state senator Bob Ewing and passed by the local Government committee on February 7 by a 5-2 vote before passing in the senate on February 11.
The state constitution of South Dakota currently prohibits gambling, except for roulette, keno, craps, “limited” card games and slot machines, provided there are conducted within the city limits of Deadwood, a town in the Black Hills Forest close to the Wyoming border. Senator Ewing’s constituency includes the city of Deadwood and most of Lawrence County, of which Deadwood is the county seat.
Under the new constitutional amendment, sports betting would also be allowed, but again only within Deadwood.
Funds from legal sports betting would go towards, “the historic restoration and preservation of Deadwood.”
The bill to amend the constitution did not provide any further details regarding the regulation of sports betting in South Dakota if legalised.
The bill will now head to the South Dakota House of Representatives. Although the bill is for a constitutional amendment, a simple majority is sufficient in both the state senate and house for the bill to pass.
If the bill passes both houses and receives the governor’s signature, it would be put to the people of South Dakota in a referendum, appearing on the ballot during the November 2020 election.