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Sports Betting In Deadwood Moves One Step Closer To Reality

Vote On Sports Betting Resolution Moves To Senate Floor And If Passed, Will Be On Ballot In 2020


Wild Bill Hickok was infamously shot in Deadwood, South Dakota in 1876 during a poker game. Now, 143 years later, the city has sports betting on the mind.

On Wednesday morning, Senate Joint Resolution 2 passed by a narrow 5-4 margin in the Senate State Affairs Committee move to the Senate floor. The legislation would allow South Dakota voters to decide in 2020 whether or not they want to legalize sports betting in the state.

The Deadwood Gaming Association has been pushing for legalization and submitted a ballot measure last November to the state Attorney General Marty Jackley on the issue. The DGA argued to the committee that sports betting will generate more tax revenue for the state and city, as well as bring more tourists to the city.

The South Dakota Department of Revenue doesn’t hold the same viewpoint.

The department claims that the estimated tax revenue numbers brought up by the DGA are exaggerated. Their estimates show that the extra revenue wouldn’t even be enough to pay someone to regulate the industry.

The DGA and the Legislative Research Council approximate that Deadwood sports betting would bring about $184,700 to the state in tax revenue, but Department of Revenue Secretary David Weist saw plenty of flaws in their estimation.

Weist told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that their numbers are inflated because they use Nevada as a model. In his words, Nevada has a “mature industry,” and the nicer year-round weather will always result in more tourism.

Those from the DGA claim that the weather wouldn’t affect tourism any more than it already does. Furthermore, the DGA didn’t face any of these same objections in 2014 when they brought expanding gambling to the city. The state’s tribal casinos also back the legislation.

If the resolution passes the Senate floor, voters will get the final say on sports betting next November.