Deadwood Gaming Association Notably Absent in Casino Expansion Battle
The Deadwood Gaming Association is not testifying on a legislative resolution that would allow residents of South Dakota to decide if sports betting should expand in the state.
In South Dakota, the Deadwood Gaming Association is a trade group that represents the interests of the commercial gaming industry of the state. The group was not on hand this week during a hearing discussing a new proposal to allow residents of the state to decide if sports betting should be expanded further than just casino venues. Deadwood casinos are currently split on the gaming expansion and stakeholders like the Sports Betting Alliance are in favor of the change.
Casinos Are Undecided
Executive director of the Association, Mike Rodman, commented that the group has not reached a consensus on the matter. When that occurs, the Association does not take a stance on the matter. Rodman reported that some operators in Deadwood see the current arrangement involving sports betting as the most beneficial because it brings people to the area to gamble.
Once players arrive to enjoy sports betting, they spend money in other areas such as additional games or dining. Even hotel stays are increased due to sports betting services. For those that are for the change, the argument is that the only way Deadwood operators can compete with neighboring states is to allow mobile sports betting.
Proponents want to see the option offered via a licensed gaming establishment so everyone would benefit. Those for the change feel that the additional revenues earned would help offset the revenues lost from less visits to the Deadwood area.
Details of the Measure
Senate Joint Resolution 502 was passed by one vote in the Senate this past week and is now on the full Senate floor. The measure is also being reviewed in the House. This is where it might get tricky. A similar bill was on the table last year in the House for online gambling and it failed to move forward.
The resolution would put a constitutional amendment question on the ballot this November, asking voters if they would want to see sports betting expand in the state. The option would include websites and mobile wagering as long as the product is provided via computer servers based in the casinos of Deadwood.
Right now, sports betting is only allowed in Deadwood. The service was approved via voter amendment, but the service is very limited. Yet, even if the residents approve the option, Governor Kristi Noem might protest. In the past, she has been heavily against any type of gambling expansion in the state.
Senator Kyle Schoenfish pointed out that sports betting is here in the state, and it is prevalent. With the vote on the expansion, the state would be able to offer online services in the safest and smartest way possible where the state can benefit.
There is a second bill on the table that would allow sports betting outside of the Deadwood area, but it is restricted to bars and other venues. The services would function through a partnership with Deadwood gaming venues.
This option would include machines like kiosks where players can visit a bar or other similar venue and place a bet themselves. Bars are being considered due to the ability to watch sports, drink and dine with friends. Backers of the Resolution 502 say there is room on the ballot measure for kiosk betting as well, so we may see two new questions on the table in South Dakota come this November.