Online sports betting bill in South Dakota officially dead
By Bob Garcia
Lawmakers shoot down an attempt to expand legal gambling in the state
It appeared that an online sports betting bill in South Dakota was on the right track, but the brakes were put on late last week. The measure seeking to legalize the market failed Friday after being killed in a House committee meeting.
The House State Affairs Committee voted 10-3 in a successful effort to kill a bill that sought a final decision from voters in the year-end elections to legalize online gambling. Under this defunct legislation, online sportsbooks would have had to be controlled or enter into a partnership with one of the four Deadwood casinos. These establishments are the only ones capable of conducting legal gambling in the state.
The Senate had given the legislation the go-ahead earlier this month, although the outcome was fairly narrow. On the other hand, it is said that an online sports betting measure could make an appearance on the November ballot. However, to achieve this, it needs at least 33,921 signatures by May 3 and many believe the chances of that happening are slim.
The recent measure had the backing of both DraftKings and FanDuel but was met with strong opposition from Department of Revenue Undersecretary David Wiest. During the hearing, Wiest opposed it in an effort to keep the legislation from moving through the legislature.
“Go and get a petition and circulate it for signatures,” Wiest said. “What has FanDuel or DraftKings done in the past two years? Apparently nothing, except coming here and begging this legislature to hit the easy button to go to the front of the line.”
The bill’s primary sponsor, Senator Kyle Schoenfish, rejected those comments and made it clear that the companies want to align their goals with those of the state and Deadwood casinos. Still, his efforts appear to have gone down the drain and now it remains to be seen if the number of signatures on the other measure will be collected.