Unofficial election results show sports gambling in Deadwood headed for approval.
But that’s not the final step. Now the issue goes to the Legislature.
The measure was Amendment B on Tuesday’s ballots. With about 80 percent of the votes counted by late Tuesday night, the yes votes stood at 58 percent, and the no votes at 42 percent.
Mike Rodman supports the amendment. He’s with the Deadwood Gaming Association.
“I think that South Dakota over the years has been very supportive of Deadwood – they want to see Deadwood be successful,” Rodman said. “And they want to give Deadwood the tools it needs to be successful.”
At least 18 other states have sports gambling. Rodman said that puts pressure on Deadwood.
“Deadwood needs to stay relevant as a gaming destination, and we need to be able to compete on a level playing field with surrounding gaming jurisdictions and offer the products that our customers are asking for, and the same products that our surrounding jurisdictions have,” Rodman said.
South Dakota Speaker of the House Steve Haugaard wrote the con statement on Amendment B for the state’s official ballot-question pamphlet. He did not immediately return messages Tuesday night.
If the unofficial results hold up, the Legislature will establish rules for sports gambling. That could happen this winter. Lawmakers could limit sports gambling to within Deadwood city limits. They could allow gambling kiosks around the state to connect with Deadwood casinos. Or they could allow people to bet anywhere in the state on smartphone apps routed through Deadwood.
The earliest sports gambling could start is July 1.
By federal law, any gambling authorized in a state must also be allowed in reservation casinos. That means South Dakota’s Native American tribes could also decide to offer sports betting.