(Population 844,877 as of 2013)
This past November, South Dakota residents voted 57-43 percent for an amendment that would allow roulette, keno and craps, which would seem like a good indication for gambling reform. Unfortunately, there was no mention of iGaming; in fact, the state previously passed Chapter 22-25A, which makes it a felony to operate an iGaming business in the state. Here’s how that law defines a “Bet or Wager” when it comes to Internet gambling:
“Bet or wager defined. For the purposes of this chapter, the term, bet or wager, means to directly or indirectly take, receive, or accept money or any valuable thing with the understanding or agreement that the money or valuable thing will be paid or delivered to a person if the payment or delivery is contingent upon the result of a race, contest, or game or upon the happening of an event not known to be certain. Bet or wager does not include the purchase, sale, or trade of securities or commodities under state or federal law.”
According to the Rapid City Journal, after the DOJ’s ruling on the Wire Act, Tony Venhuizen, a spokesperson for Governor Dennis Daugaard, released a statement stating the governor approved of the move, but didn’t have plans to take up the issue.
“The governor feels like any time that the federal government acts to give the states more discretion or authority is a positive step,” the statement read. “Are we going to do anything? Are we thinking about online gaming? He’s willing to learn more about that and have that discussion, but he doesn’t have any immediate plans to take on that issue.”
That said, earlier this year South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley was one of 16 attorney generals to sign a letter opposing the DOJ’s interpretation, while other lawmakers have expressed their hesitance in favor of protecting the state’s land-based gaming operations in Deadwood.
"I think it would detract from the critical mass of bringing people to Deadwood to not only enjoy gambling but winter sports, summer sports, Mount Rushmore - the whole visitor experience that happens in the Black Hills," Sen. Tom Nelson told the Rapid City Journal. "Deadwood is part of a package with the other attractions in the region and the history of the region. If online gambling ultimately keeps people at home, that detracts from the whole package."
It doesn’t appear iGaming has a future in South Dakota, at least anytime soon. That’s disappointing, but with a limited population of 844,877, it’s absence from the market shouldn’t have much of an effect.