Deadwood sports betting amendment gets new life

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A measure proposing that South Dakota voters should decide on legalizing sports betting in Deadwood got new life Monday after earlier failing during a committee hearing.

The House State Affairs Committee voted 7-3 against the proposal, but representatives later used a procedural move to order its delivery to the floor. The measure has already passed through the Senate.

Deadwood Gaming Association Executive Director Mike Rodman said backers will exhaust their legislative options before gathering signatures to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot. The group’s goal is to get the measure in “front of the voters of South Dakota and let them decide.”

If supporters don’t find luck at the Capitol, then they would have to collect nearly 34,000 signatures to put the measure to a statewide vote. In South Dakota, the Legislature can place a constitutional change before voters or amendment supporters can gather names. Petitions are due in November.

“We believe that people have a right to have their say in sports betting, and we want to give them that opportunity,” Rodman said.

Deadwood is known as the city where Wild Bill Hickok was gunned down in 1876 while playing poker in a saloon, and after gambling was legalized there in 1989, Deadwood became a major force in South Dakota’s tourism industry.