South Dakota Gambling Laws

South Dakota Gambling LawsSouth Dakota is one of the States of the Union that has gambling coursing through its ancestral veins, beginning in the heady gold rush days. The usual ‘ban everything’ mentality followed immediately thereafter.

Gambling in South Dakota now is somewhat restricted with a limited number of casinos (both commercial and tribal), a healthy horse racing industry and a large number of video lottery machines.

For the Mount Rushmore State’s position on online casino laws, betting on sports, online gambling etc., see table below

Gambling Type Legal Land-Based Legal Online
Sports Betting No No
Casinos Yes No
Fantasy Sports (DFS) N/A Yes
eSports No No
Poker Yes No
Horse-Racing Yes Yes
Lottery Yes No
Charitable-Gambling Yes No

South Dakota Gambling Tax Rate

There is no tax on gambling winnings.

Large wins may possibly attract additional Federal taxes.

Legal gambling age in South Dakota

Gambling Type Age
DFS 18
Horse-Racing 18
Casinos 21
Lottery 18
Charitable-Gambling 18

Sports Betting Laws in South Dakota

Happenings at the Federal level of government are the biggest precursors surrounding the development of sports betting in the Mount Rushmore State.

South Dakota’s State Legislators have been granted the opportunity to consider the possibility of introducing legal sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to pass sports betting laws back to the states in May 2018, following the successful court challenge by the state of New Jersey to the Federal nationwide sports betting ban.

Is Sports Betting legal in South Dakota?

Currently, South Dakota does not have legal sports betting, however, the State Government is beginning to lay the ground work by which it will be possible.

In January 2018, the South Dakota Department of Revenue made public a white paper explaining the process that the State should adopt once the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey and overturned the federal law prohibiting sports betting.

The White Paper recommended a statewide referendum on sports betting, granting regulatory power on sports betting to the state’s Commission on Gaming, limiting sports betting to licensed casinos, and that the State Legislature should determine a tax rate on sports betting. Similar to other states, the white paper recommends that sports betting in South Dakota should be a ‘pool betting’ format, (as horse racing payouts are determined).

We’re expecting the debate on legal sports betting proposals, the introduction of bills etc. to begin in South Dakota when the legislative season starts in January 2019.

Meanwhile, South Dakota’s residents and visitors can bet 100% legally on horse and greyhound racing and enjoy playing DFS real money competitions until legal sports betting becomes reality in the Mount Rushmore State.

Sports Betting Online

The State of South Dakota does not currently offer online sports betting for either its visitors or residents.

The Federal level of U.S. Government have made online betting legal, however, each state is required to pass legislation to regulate and license operators. For the time being, South Dakota’s lawmakers have been unable to pass legislation on the topic.

In all likelihood, South Dakota won’t have online sports betting options in the short-term future. The stumbling block is a piece of legislation that specifically targets online gambling in the state. Section 22-25A-8 of the State Code specifically targets the establishment of any business that conducts gambling online as illegal;

‘Establishment of internet gambling business prohibited…no person may establish a location or site in this state from which to conduct a gambling business on or over the internet or an interactive computer service.’

Furthermore, South Dakota’s penalties for breaching the anti-online gambling laws are harsh. Section 22-25A-10  determines it to be a Class 6 felony for the first offense and a Class 5 felony for all subsequent offenses.

Consequently, before any form of online gambling can be introduced to South Carolina, the state’s lawmakers will be required to amend the stiff penalties.

Until new South Dakotan laws are introduced, we recommend the legal online gambling options in the state;

  • Playing online DFS competitions for real money, and;
  • Online betting on horse and greyhound racing.

<h2>Casinos in South Dakota</h2>

Both tribal and commercial venues operate inside South Dakota, and currently the state is home to almost 50 casinos of differing specifications and sizes. The town of Deadwood is the center of South Dakota’s casino gambling industry with a number of establishments there (although fewer than the high point of 80 casinos during the late 1990’s).

South Dakota’s Land-based Casinos

Following commercial casino legalization in 1989, tribal casinos got their start in 1993. Across both casino forms in South Dakota, you’ll find more than 5000 slot machines and almost 100 table games. There have been some big maximum bet limit increases in South Dakota in recent years, going from as little as $5 in 1989, up to $100 in 2000 and rising again to a very generous maximum bet limit of $1000 in 2013.

South Dakota’s casinos are all entitled to offer slots, video poker, table games that use cards, and live poker.

‘Video Lottery’ casinos (usually in bars and other licensed establishments) can install up to 10 machines per location. South Dakota’s video lottery machines came up for repeal in an unsuccessful statewide referendum in 1992.

Online Casinos in South Dakota

Online gaming options in South Dakota that can be played legally are limited exclusively to horse and greyhound racing betting and DFS competitions. (See above in the ‘Sports Betting Online’ section for laws and ensuing penalties for breaking South Dakota’s anti-online gambling laws).

Players that look to be involved in online casino play in the State should avoid using both U.S. based online casinos and off-shore sites and not run the risk of possible felony charges until South Dakota’s State Legislators get onboard by expanding legal online gambling options.

Horse Racing Betting in South Dakota

Betting on horses and greyhounds’ dates back to the 1940’s as a regulated South Dakotan industry.

South Dakota’s Commission on Gaming oversees races, the race tracks themselves, animal welfare and the licensing of horse racing and horse racing betting.

Track Side: 6 tracks are used for a total of 14 race meetings in South Dakota throughout the summer months. Other tracks sometimes receive licenses to operate for specific events such as county fairs.

Off-Track Betting (OTB): South Dakota offers a range of OTB locations and facilities across the state for its residents and visitors.

Online Betting on Horse Racing in South Dakota: In the state of South Dakota, it is possible to place horse racing wagers online without any fear of punishment under the state law.

South Dakotans can be offered 100% legally excellent online odds on all major horse racing venues worldwide and thoroughbred racing venues in the U.S. directly from their phones, tablets, smartwatches, other mobile devices or home computers.

South Dakota’s Daily Fantasy Sports Law

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) have been ruled upon to be contests of skill at the Federal level of law-making. This determination has made DFS immune from all forms of Federal gambling regulation. Many state governments across the nation have already taken up the virtual invitation and consequently, legalized DFS and regulated and licensed the practice under their respective state laws.

South Dakota’s gaming laws do not restrict real money DFS competitions. DFS sites freely offer their real money competitions to residents and visitors to the Mount Rushmore State without issue of contravening the state regulations on gambling.

However, South Dakota’s State Government has never addressed the legality of DFS competitions, nor perhaps have they ever urgently felt the need to.

Back in 2005, South Dakota’s attorney general Marty Jackley offered a general statement regarding DFS, saying he would not seek felony indictments without more “guidance”, and since then, DFS games for real money have been offered to South Dakotans without any hinderance from state authorities and the industry is booming.

DFS Explained

A DFS competition is a unique real money sports game that is totally unrecognizable from traditional win/loss sports betting. The format is clear and simple.

DFS betting revolves around selecting a team of players from the league of your choice. NASCAR, MMA, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, college football and college basketball are all offered and selected DFS companies offer PGA Golf and Horse Racing competitions.  All-of-the-active players in your chosen pro-league are available to ‘draft’ into your team. In DFS, each player has a price tag and you have a salary cap to spend on players in your roster. Drafting a ‘dream’ team comprised entirely of star players is simply not possible. You will need to manage your budget, choosing wisely and keeping under your cap to form a well-balanced roster.

Using an NBA DFS league scenario, players may select a new fantasy team every day or allotted time period: spending on point guards, centers, power forwards, swingmen etc. DFS Points are awarded based on the performances of the players in the actual games (e.g. 0.5 for a 3-point shot or 2 points for a block etc.).

The team whose players are awarded the most points, wins the daily, weekly, regular season competition or a stand-alone playoff ‘league’. Massive prizes of more than $1 million per league can potentially paid out to winners of each separate DFS competition.

Poker Laws in South Dakota

Live Poker options exist in South Dakota at Tribal and Commercial Casinos throughout the state and whilst social ‘home’ games are strictly not tolerated under South Dakotan law, law enforcement rarely, if ever, takes place.

Online Poker Laws in South Dakota

Online Poker is a currently not a legal option for the gamblers of South Dakota and given the number of video lottery terminals that are earning the South Dakota State Lottery millions, don’t expect the topic is to be scheduled for discussion by the state’s lawmakers anytime soon. See above sections, ‘Sports Betting Online’, ‘South Dakota’s Land-based Casinos’ and ‘Online Casinos in South Dakota’ for further clarification.

eSports Betting in South Dakota

Once legal sports betting becomes reality for South Dakota’s citizens, gamblers will be accessing eSports wagers through betting markets never before imagined in methods untarnished by any murky, illegal histories.

‘eSports’ explained

Ever since the first days of video gaming in the early 2000s, the game’s players have always been trying to beat their colleagues.

Skipping forward to present day and eSports (professional video game play at the highest level) has fostered massive betting markets on the outcomes of the all the big global tournaments.

The players battle for glory in games like Call of Duty, League of Legends and Starcraft II across a worldwide network of tournaments. Growing rapidly, the eSports industry shows little signs of slowing down and is expected to cross the $1 billion threshold in late 2018 / early 2019.

As sports betting arrives in South Dakota, a legal eSports wager could be the first bet you place in a fully legalized South Dakota sportsbook.

Benefits of Legal Gambling to South Dakota

  • In the 2016 Financial Year, more than $2.5 billion of gambling revenue was provided to, develop natural resources, decrease property taxes, support education and provide problem gambling treatment services.
  • Over $440 million each year has been provided to fund state universities and high schools.
  • $79 million per annum is used to run environment and recycling programs in the state.
  • Funding Better Health outcomes – Programs like Medicaid and Assistance to Needy Families, and human services facilities, and policing are all beneficiaries of gambling funding and used to better the lives of South Dakotans.

Gambling History in South Dakota

1933; Horse Racing Betting legalized.

1986; Charitable gambling legalized & South Dakota’s Lottery begins.

1989; Casino Gambling begins in the historic town of Deadwood.

1990; Simulcast horse racing betting introduced.

1993; Tribal Casinos okayed for business in South Dakota.

2000 & 2013; Betting limits in Deadwood raised firstly to $100, and then to the current $1000.

2015; Craps, keno and roulette legalized for play at all South Dakota casinos.

2018; Government White Paper calls for legal sports betting in South Dakota.



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