Is Sports Betting Legal in South Dakota?

Some states need to worry about expanding gambling before expanding gambling to include sports betting. One such state is South Dakota. There are a small number of places that allow gambling in The Mount Rushmore State and most of them are on tribal lands. Deadwood is the only place that allows gaming outside of the Indian gaming halls. It would likely take a lot more venues for sports betting to get the attention that it would need on the state legislative floor.

The state also has some pretty significant elections in November 2018, as a new governor will take over and new legislators will be elected. Up until that time, there really isn’t a whole lot that can be done and there will be more pressing issues in the state to decide. What that means is that the citizens of South Dakota will have to wait a while. In fact, at the earliest, any proposed amendment to the state constitution for an expansion of gambling, let along the inclusion of sports betting, wouldn’t take place until 2020.

South Dakota ranks 46th in population with a lot of revenue from natural resources and tourism, with sites like the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore. Gambling has just never really been at the forefront of the discussion. Quite frankly, it just isn’t a huge generator of money. States with small populations, especially those spread out like in South Dakota, are unlikely to see a lot of incentives from any studies that are commissioned. That truly makes it a tough sell and South Dakota may be one of the states that never gets sports betting legislation passed.


Recent News Stories About Sports Betting

While the outlook is rather bleak right now, plans for a new casino outside of tribal lands in Port Yankton are ongoing. Expansions of gambling are always good for the future possibilities of sports betting, but even this proposal is moving rather slowly.

In an editorial for (login required), the staff gave a rousing endorsement for sports betting in the state of South Dakota.

This Yankton situation could be the opening that those in favorite of legalized sports betting need to get some discussions going. The Capital Journal also had some thoughts about the proposed casino and the amendment that would be required.

While the state budget may not see too much of a windfall, the existing gaming venues in the state would greatly benefit from sports betting. A very detailed piece in the Tri-State Livestock News outlined the situation for the Ft. Pierre Racetrack, which could really use the additional funds and attendance.



Sports betting just isn’t a priority for the state of South Dakota and it won’t be anytime soon. Maybe something happens at some point, as neighboring states start to get involved, but South Dakota will likely be one of the last states to adopt it, if at all. Those with an interest in betting will either have to go across state lines or keep using their alternative methods.


Neighboring States





North Dakota