As with most things involving gambling in South Dakota, its legal sports betting market centers around and serves the fabled old mining and poker town of Deadwood. In 2021, state legislators followed through on a 2020 vote by South Dakotans to legalize sports betting in the state. But it will only take place on the property of the casinos in Deadwood. The first sportsbook arrived in September 2021.
The limited form of South Dakota sports betting means the state follows in the footsteps of Mississippi, which also limits all bets — online and on-site — to the licensed properties. So if you’re making a visit to Deadwood or have a hankering to bet on sports in South Dakota, here’s how it all works and how legal sports betting came to be.
Is sports betting legal in South Dakota?
Yes, sports betting in South Dakota is legal with the first sportsbooks opening in September 2021. The South Dakota House passed SJR 501 by in 2020, allowing the voters to decide if sports betting should be legal. Voters approved a referendum in November 2020 with a 60% approval to legalize sports betting in Deadwood, the casino resort town. Amendments to tribal compacts could eventually allow Native American casinos in the state to take sports bets on their properties.
Legislators followed the will of the voters and legalized sports betting in Deadwood. Gov. Kristi Noem signed the bill into law, and SD sports betting rules made major gains in both May and June. In mid-June 2021, the Legislative Rules Review Committee gave its blessing to the South Dakota sports betting proposal by the Commission on Gaming.
Does South Dakota have legal online sportsbooks?
No … and sort of. Sports betting will be confined to the property of Deadwood casinos under the law passed in 2021. Mobile sports betting will be available, but the catch is that you have to be on-property. There has been talk that some ambiguity in the South Dakota law might allow casinos to offer statewide mobile betting by simply operating servers on casino property in Deadwood:
“Any sports wagering may only be conducted on the premises of a licensed gaming establishment as approved by the commission within the city of Deadwood. Each operator or route operator that is authorized by the commission to conduct sports wagering shall install and maintain equipment that is approved by the commission to ensure that all bets are placed on the premises of a licensed gaming establishment as approved by the commission within the city of Deadwood.”
But Deadwood Gaming Association Executive Director Mike Rodman told PlayIA this won’t be allowed.
Online sportsbooks coming to South Dakota
It may seem like a fool’s errand considering the state’s limitations on online sports betting. But there is already the potential for at least one online sportsbook in South Dakota.
On Aug. 19, 2021, BetMGM Sportsbook SD announced an exclusive partnership with Liv Hospitality’s Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort and Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort to offer both retail and that mico-mobile sports betting in Deadwood. BetMGM plans to offer betting kiosks on those properties, as well. So far, BetMGM is the only sportsbook planning to launch in the state, but it just may be the start as other brands could partner up in Deadwood including:
- Caesars Sportsbook
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
With the on-premise restrictions, South Dakota’s handle will be greatly hamstrung. Deadwood is a six-hour drive from the state’s largest city, Sioux Falls, which is on the border with Iowa, a legal market that does not require in-person mobile registration. Neighboring states Wyoming and Nebraska both passed sports betting legislation in 2021, the former being an online-only state.
But just think. You can belly up to the bar in Deadwood with your phone instead of standing in line at the ticket window.
How to bet on sports in South Dakota
Requirements for how to sign up for sports betting accounts have yet to be determined, obviously. That said, based on other states the process has followed a typical pattern, and despite South Dakota’s online sportsbook restrictions, it should function mostly the same.
Signing up at an online sportsbook
If and when BetMGM or other online sportsbooks launch in Deadwood, the required info to sign up is the same as other states, too. Here is what you’ll need to provide:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Social Security number (last four digits)
Once an account is created, you will then need to make a deposit. Typically, sportsbooks offer a variety of methods for funding accounts, such as Visa and Mastercard, but here are some other ways:
- Online bank transfers, which are similar to online bill pay
- Wire transfers
- Electronic checks
- Prepaid cards
- Electronic wallets such as PayPal
- Cash at the land-based casino cage
- Checks or money orders
Not every sportsbook that launches in South Dakota will offer the same number or the same selection of deposit options. Similarly, not all deposit methods can be used to withdraw.
Betting at a casino in Deadwood
Sportsbooks in Deadwood will function similarly and offer the same odds as those at any app. Sports bets will only be allowed on the property of the South Dakota casinos in the city of Deadwood. The casinos are generally small facilities dominated by poker and slots. Geolocation technology will limit bettors to the casino property. But you can expect live teller windows at any sportsbook facility or at the very least, self-betting kiosks.
Popular sports to bet on in South Dakota
South Dakota is not exactly a pro sports hotbed but you can expect to bet on all the well-known leagues and events including:
The South Dakota Coyotes and State Jack Rabbits are the main college programs, but you can’t bet on them. The state prohibits wagering on in-state college teams, as well as high school and minor league sports and prop bets on individual college athletes.
Here are some key terms you’re likely to come across when betting on sports in South Dakota:
- Moneyline: Sportsbooks offer lines that suggest the odds of any given team winning a game. Each line is based on a $100 wager. Favorites carry a negative number — for example, -110, — which tells bettors they need to bet $110 to win $100. On the flip side, underdogs likely have a positive number; for example, +110 means bettors can win $110 on a $100 wager.
- Totals: These over/under numbers indicate the total score that the sportsbook expects in a single game. Bettors simply wager whether the actual total will be more or less than the given amount.
- Spreads: These numbers tell bettors how many points/goals/runs a team is favored by. The public can lay money down on the underdog to “cover the spread” (losing by less than the given amount or winning outright) or for the favorite to win by more than the number.
- Parlays: Bets that combine multiple wagers. Though risky, parlays provide better returns from a smaller stake. That said, one leg’s loss results in a parlay’s loss.
- Teasers: This form of parlay is for spreads, and you can shift the line in your favor. Wins are theoretically easier to come by, but returns are lower than for parlays.
- Props: Any bet on a specific accomplishment for an individual player or a team, or on a specific game state happening: yards rushed, points scored, overtime, etc.
- Futures: These wagers rely on a season’s outcome rather than a single game. Betting on conference, division and league winners are examples of futures wagers.
- Live betting: Bets made on an event while the event is ongoing and with odds changing in real time.
South Dakota sports betting FAQ
Can you play daily fantasy sports in South Dakota?
Yes, players can technically play daily fantasy sports in South Dakota. South Dakota is one of many states that has neither legalized nor criminalized the practice, allowing major national operators like DraftKings and FanDuel to operate. In 2015, the South Dakota attorney general was one of the first in the US to share an opinion about the legality of daily fantasy sports. He basically said he wished for further guidance before considering whether to declare DFS legal or illegal. The situation has remained unchanged since then.
Who will regulate South Dakota sports betting?
The South Dakota Commission on Gaming will oversee the state’s sports betting market. The five-member panel oversees all forms of gambling in South Dakota.
How old do I have to be to bet on sports in South Dakota?
The legal age to bet on sports in South Dakota is 21 or older.
How South Dakota sports betting came to be
The largest gambling expansion in the state occurred in 1989 when voters approved casinos in the town of Deadwood. Not until 2020 did another significant change happen in the state when nearly 60% of voters had approved the launch of sportsbooks in Deadwood. Known as Amendment B, the ballot measure explained the following:
“The constitution currently authorizes the Legislature to allow certain types of gaming in the City of Deadwood: roulette, keno, craps, limited card games, and slot machines. The constitution amendment authorizes the Legislature to also include wagering on sporting events as a type of gaming allowed in Deadwood. Under federal law, any gaming authorized by the Legislature to be offered in Deadwood would also be allowed at on-reservation casinos upon amendments to current tribal gaming compacts.”
That spurred the state Legislature to pass a bill (SB44) in 2021 legalizing sports wagering. Gov. Kristi Noem signed it into law in March, with a targeted launch date of Sept. 1.