South Dakota holds a special place in the history of gambling, and particularly poker. In the wake of the Black Hills Gold Rush, some of the most legendary stories of Old West gambling occurred in the state. The most famous of such tales, of course, was the one of James “Wild Bill” Hickok’s final, fatal poker game and his “dead man’s hand” in the No. 10 Saloon in Deadwood.
That connection to the Old West remains relevant to South Dakota gambling today, as many of its casinos and gambling establishments highlight the state’s colorful history as part of a larger strategy to attract tourism. In fact, when South Dakotans voted to legalize limited-stakes gambling and the first casinos opened in 1989, Deadwood was the chosen location, with revenue largely earmarked to go to historic restoration and preservation.
At the time, South Dakota was just the third state to have legal casino-style gambling, along with Nevada and New Jersey. Even so, online gambling in South Dakota has been a non-starter for some time. Legal real money online casinos are not available in the state. And only in 2021 did online sports betting become a thing, but it’s restricted to the Deadwood casinos. What are the chances South Dakota online gambling expands further? Read on to find out more about legal gambling in the Mount Rushmore State.
Play online slots or casino games in South Dakota
Can you gamble online in South Dakota?
No, online gambling is not legal in South Dakota. The passage of a South Dakota sports betting law in 2021 did not include any additional online gambling language. As in many states, South Dakota’s gambling laws prohibiting non-approved forms of gambling also make online gambling illegal.
Interestingly, the section of South Dakota law that specifically addresses “internet gambling” — Chapter 22-25A — states the following: “No person engaged in a gambling business may use the internet or an interactive computer to bet or wager.” The law defines doing so as a felony offense.
Sports betting is legal in South Dakota, but without a mobile option … sort of. South Dakota sports betting opened for business in September 201 — bets via apps will be available only within the casinos themselves. So while players won’t be able to bet from their homes or most other places in the state, they do have to be inside the casino walls.
The only other legal online options are horse betting sites such as TVG and TwinSpires.
Are there legal online casinos in South Dakota?
No, there are no legal online casinos available in South Dakota. When it comes to online slots, sweepstakes casino sites like Funzpoints and social casino sites like Chumba Casino and Luckyland Slots provide a legal sort of loophole and do welcome players from South Dakota. However, there are no legal real-money options for online slots in the state.
Sweepstakes casinos and social casinos will seem very familiar to those who play online casinos for real money. The registration, gameplay, and experience will be very familiar. The key difference is the legal tender and the payout. Instead of buying chips or betting with money, players use two virtual currencies. One allows you to play games for fun, but with no possibility of winning actual money. The other, equivalent to a free sweepstakes entry, allows you to redeem winnings for cash prizes.
Can you play online poker in South Dakota?
Online poker is illegal in South Dakota, and there is no discussion about legalizing it on the horizon. However, you can play at sweepstakes online poker sites in South Dakota for real cash prizes. These sites operate just like sweepstakes casinos and are legal in most states. Global Poker is one of the most popular alternative online poker sites.
Will South Dakota regulate online gambling in the future?
It’s not likely, as online gambling in South Dakota has not made any progress legislatively. Neither the operators of retail casinos in Deadwood nor the Native American tribes that operate casinos in the state have shown much interest in introducing online casinos. In other words, don’t hold your breath.
Legal online gambling vs. offshore sites
Simply put, South Dakota law does not allow for online gambling. Do not trust sites that tell you otherwise. South Dakota does not license or operate any gambling websites, and no casino does either. Unless it’s a sweepstakes site, the online casinos accepting South Dakota players are based offshore. These sites may try to convince you they are legal in the US through clever wording, but their offices and servers are outside the United States. This comes with several risks:
- You don’t know who you’re dealing with.
- You have no certainty that your money will ever come back.
- If you close an account, you may not be able to get your deposit back.
- You could win a game or bet and not be able to withdraw your winnings.
- No US consumer protection agency can help you.
Legal, regulated gambling options are the only safe way to go.
Who regulates gambling in South Dakota?
The South Dakota Commission on Gaming oversees all gambling regulations in the state.
What is the legal gambling age in South Dakota?
The minimum age for gambling in South Dakota is 21 in the casinos in Deadwood and at tribal casinos. You must be at least 18 for wagering at simulcast locations and live horse racing. While you have to be at least 18 years old to play the regular lottery, you must be at least 21 to play video lottery games.
Responsible gambling in SD
The state of South Dakota participates in the South Dakota Council on Problem Gambling, which is located in Sioux Falls. The toll-free number is 1-888-781-HELP (4357). Callers are referred to Gamblers Anonymous groups near their hometown.
Types of legal gambling in South Dakota
Again, South Dakota is not devoid of legal gambling. There are more than 20 non-tribal casinos in Deadwood. In addition, multiple Native American tribes in the state operate casinos on their territories. There are about a dozen tribal casinos throughout the state.
South Dakota’s allowance of limited-stakes gambling extends to bars and taverns, as well, where a limited number of video lottery terminals featuring games like poker, blackjack, keno and bingo are legal. Other types of gambling in South Dakota include the following:
- There has been a state lottery in South Dakota since 1989, and certain forms of charitable gambling are available, as well.
- There is pari-mutuel horse betting — live only — at the Stanley County Fairgrounds in Fort Pierre and Brown County Fairgrounds in Aberdeen.
- Simulcast horse and dog wagering are available at Triple Crown Casino, North Sioux City.
- Video lottery machines offer poker, blackjack and bingo with a maximum $2 bet.
- South Dakota lawmakers legalized sports betting in 2021, launching in September 2021.
Deadwood casinos and gambling
In 1989, the first legal commercial casinos opened in South Dakota, all in Deadwood in the western part of the state in Lawrence County. There are currently more than 20 casinos operating in Deadwood. All of them have slots, most have multiple table games and a few have live poker rooms.
The largest Deadwood casinos are the Silverado Franklin Hotel and Casino and Gold Dust Casino and Hotel. Both are more than 25,000 square feet in size and feature more than 300 slot machines and table games. The Mineral Palace is on the list as well, with more than 350 slots.
The Deadwood casinos are smaller and more intimate when compared to big hotel-casino resorts as you might find in Atlantic City or Las Vegas. Most are locally owned as well but still feature traditional games such as blackjack, craps, keno, poker, roulette and slot machines. In no particular order, here are some of the top casinos in Deadwood:
Silverado Franklin Hotel and Casino
- Address: 709 Main St., Deadwood, SD
- Phone: 605-578-3670
- Live poker: Yes
Right on Deadwood’s Main Street, this refurbished hotel and casino dates back to 1903. It incorporates the historic Franklin Hotel as well as 225 slots. Several table game variations of blackjack and poker are also available including Texas Hold’Em and 3-Card Poker Progressive. Bet limits are set at $1,000 on all table games.
Gold Dust Casino and Hotel
- Address: 688 Main St., Deadwood, SD
- Phone: 605-578-2100
- Live poker: Yes
The new owners of the Gold Dust Casino in South Dakota gave the property a facelift in 2014. The new gaming floors feature table games like craps and roulette as well as a large selection of slots. There are also virtual roulette tables with a digital roulette wheel.
Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort
- Address: 360 Main St., Deadwood, SD
- Phone: 605-578-1500
- Live poker: Yes
Another newly renovated casino in Deadwood, the Cadillac Jack features a more modern aesthetic compared to its casino counterparts. A large selection of slots and table games includes the well-known Quick Hit series and craps tables that are open Monday-Thursday until 2 p.m. and Friday-Saturday until noon.
Mineral Palace Hotel & Gaming
- Address: 601 Historic Main St., Deadwood, SD
- Phone: 800-847-2522
- Live poker: No
The Mineral Palace casino hosts more than 320 slots with anything from penny to $25 machines. Blackjack, 3-card poker or double-deck blackjack are featured alongside a gift shop and 75-room hotel.
Deadwood Station Bunkhouse & Gambling Hall
- Address: 68 Main St., Deadwood, SD
- Phone: 605-578-3476
- Live poker: No
This locally owned casino sits at the entrance to the city on Highway 14A and Highway 85. It hosts traditional slots and video lottery games alongside a bunkhouse hotel and the Miner’s Saloon.
Tribal casinos in South Dakota
In 1993, South Dakota signed compacts with several Native American tribes to allow tribal casinos in the state. There are around a dozen in operation, with the Royal River Casino, the Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel, and the Fort Randall Casino & Hotel representing the largest ones. The casinos offer some of the same games as their commercial counterparts in Deadwood, but not all of them have live poker.
|Dakota Connection Casino and Travel Center||Dakota Sioux||Sisseton||605-698-4273|
|Dakota Sioux Casino||Dakota Sioux||Watertown||605-882-2051|
|East Wind Casino||Oglala Sioux Tribe||Martin||605-867-6300|
|Fort Randall Casino||Yankton Sioux Tribe||Lake Andes||605-487-7871|
|Golden Buffalo Casino & Resort||Lower Brule Sioux Tribe||Lower Brule||605-473-5577|
|Grand River Casino and Resort||Standing Rock Sioux Tribe||Mobridge||800-475-3321|
|Lode Star Casino||Crow Creek Sioux Tribe||Fort Thompson||605-245-6000|
|Prairie Wind Casino & Hotel (Dome)||Oglala Sioux Tribe||Pine Ridge||605-867-6300|
|Rosebud Casino||Rosebud Sioux Tribe||SD/NE state line||605-378-3800|
|Royal River Casino & Hotel||Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe||Flandreau||605-997-3746|
|Turtle Creek Crossing Casino||Rosebud Sioux Tribe||Mission||605-856-2329|
|Yankton Sioux Travel Plaza||Yankton Sioux Tribe||Lake Andes||605-487-9561|
Is horse betting legal in South Dakota?
Yes. Pari-mutuel horse racing is limited to live horse racing at the Stanley County Fairgrounds in Fort Pierre and Brown County Fairgrounds in Aberdeen. Off-track betting is available only at the Triple Crown Casino (it’s not really a casino and has only video lottery machines). You can also bet on horses online at sites like TVG when you are in South Dakota.
Live horse racing has historically taken place in the spring of each year at both the Stanley County Fairgrounds in Fort Pierre and the Brown County Fairgrounds in Aberdeen.
South Dakota gambling history
South Dakota’s gambling history is steeped in the Old West and its entire non-tribal casino industry makes its home in the town made famous by Hickok. The first Native American casinos opened just a year later in 1990. Ever since the casinos opened though, South Dakota has taken only a few small steps to expand legal gambling in the state.
South Dakota first introduced a state lottery in 1989. The state does not allow purchasing lottery tickets online. But early in the history of the state lottery, it introduced video lottery terminals as well. There were some legal battles over these video lottery machines, but since 1994 they have remained legal despite efforts to try to prohibit them.
The addition of sports betting to South Dakota casinos is the most recent expansion in gambling for the state.
Below you’ll find a list of resources that can help you learn more about the future of online casinos and online gambling in South Dakota.