BetMGM, DraftKings Show ‘Strong Interest’ As Deadwood Sets Stage For Sports Betting

Written By Russ Mitchell on May 25, 2021 - Last Updated on July 29, 2021
deadwood sports betting framework

The “when” for sportsbook betting at Deadwood, SD, is hopefully “in time for football season.”

The “who,” “where” and “how” are still up in the air as South Dakota continues its cautious path toward the first legal sports wagers in state history.

About 3 of every 5 voters in South Dakota supported Amendment B in November 2020, which allowed Deadwood casinos to open sportsbooks in the Black Hills community. Gov. Kristi Noem on March 18 signed Senate Bill 44, which officially opened the door for sportsbooks there.

Deadwood Gaming Association Executive Director Mike Rodman said geolocation technology would limit sportsbook betting to Deadwood casino properties only:

“I don’t know the details of the geofencing beacons and what that reaches, but we’ll be using that geofencing technology. Whether it will reach out into the parking lot or stop at the building? I guess, I don’t know.”

But, Rodman added: “The idea is that you would be able to be in your hotel room on a casino property and still place your bet.”

That’s better than the pending gaming legislation in Nebraska. Nebraska will have casinos in more communities than South Dakota. But, current plans there would limit sports wagering to betting windows or kiosks on the casino floor.

Iowans and people who visit Iowa can both register and bet online legally from their tablets and smartphones — as long as the betting takes place on the right side of that Iowa-South Dakota border.

Big sportsbooks have eyes on Deadwood

South Dakota’s Deadwood-only approach to gambling may deter a full sportsbook stampede like the one anticipated in Iowa. The city has room for multiple options, however. Rodman counts 13 traditional casinos and another 13 slot machine operators in the city. That gives sportsbook companies 26 options to enter the Deadwood market.

Rodman said:

“They’re contacting individual properties. My gut tells me, there’s probably about 10 Deadwood properties that have shown a strong interest in sports wagering. I’ve fielded calls from a few of the different players.”

Rodman mentioned BetMGM, William Hill, DraftKings and the turn-key gaming platform IGT as examples. But he said, “I don’t necessarily know of everybody that’s been in town, talking to the casino operators.”

Deadwood betting requires two more steps

The South Dakota Commission on Gaming held the first of two rules hearings to establish some sportsbook boundaries. Commissioners focused on rules for sportsbook service providers at their initial May 18 meeting. The regulators wanted to give sportsbook providers some direction yet this spring.

The sportsbooks can submit their applications for licensing beginning July 1. There is a $5,000 application fee for sportsbook operators. The facility offering sports wagering must pay a $2,000 license fee and a $2,000 annual renewal fee.

Rodman said:

“The second set of sports wagering rules will be July 14. That’ll be kind of what I call the nuts and bolts, if you will, of sports wagering rules.”

Lawmakers locked in some of those restrictions with Noem’s signature to SB44. As we mentioned, sports betting will be limited to casino properties. Deadwood bettors won’t be able to wager on high school or in-state college sports either.

Rodman said his commission sends sports wagering rules to the Legislative Interim Rules Committee for approval.

“They take effect 20 days after they’ve been approved by the Legislative Interim Rules Committee. Our hope is that we will have sports wagering all ready to go by the first of September, and be able to start taking wagers on the football season starting the first of September.”

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Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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