Voters in South Dakota to decide on legalizing sports betting in Deadwood this fall

South Dakota legislators passed Senate Joint Resolution 501 on March 3, certifying it for the November 2020 ballot.

The amendment would legalize sports betting (wagering on the outcome of athletic sporting events) within the city limits of Deadwood, South Dakota. Currently, in Deadwood— a resort and gaming town— blackjack, craps, keno, poker, roulette, and slot machines are legalized. Like other authorized forms of gambling within the city, net municipal proceeds would be dedicated to the historic restoration and preservation of Deadwood.

Senate Joint Resolution 501 was passed in the Senate on February 11, 2020, in a vote of 24-10, with one excused. Of the 30 Republicans in the Senate, 20 voted in favor, nine voted against, and one was excused. Among the five Senate Democrats, four Democrats voted in favor and one voted against. It was sent to the state House where it passed on March 3, 2020, by a vote of 36-27 with seven representatives excused. Among Democrats, seven were in favor and three were against. Among Republicans, 29 were in favor and 24 were against.

Sports betting was banned at the federal level under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) until a 2018 United States Supreme Court decision, Murphy v. NCAA, overturned that federal ban and allowed states to legalize sports betting. As of March 2020, 13 states had legalized sports betting. Voters in Arkansas approved legalizing sports betting through Issue 4 in 2018. Voters in Colorado approved sports betting through Proposition DD in 2019. In certain other states, legislative bills to legalize sports betting have been introduced.

Two other ballot measures are certified to appear on the November ballot in South Dakota. Initiated Measure 26 would provide for a medical marijuana program in South Dakota. Constitutional Amendment A would legalize recreational use of marijuana and require the legislature to pass laws providing for the use of medical marijuana and the sale of hemp by April 1, 2022.

A total of 74 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in South Dakota from 1996 through 2018, of which, about 39% (29 of 74) were approved and about 61% (45 of 74) were defeated.

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