Deadwood Casinos Struggle to Find Consensus on Mobile Sports Betting

Home » Deadwood Casinos Struggle to Find Consensus on Mobile Sports Betting

Posted on: February 10, 2022, 12:05h. 

Last updated on: February 10, 2022, 01:32h.

South Dakota’s Deadwood casinos are permitted to operate sportsbooks in their brick-and-mortar establishments, so long as they first pay the state a $5,000 licensing fee for the expanded gambling privilege.

Deadwood casinos sports betting mobile South Dakota
Downtown Deadwood and its historic Main Street. Sports betting is up and running in town. Operations could soon move online, too, should a legislative effort in the South Dakota capital continue to gain favor among state lawmakers. (Image: Rapid City Journal)

The Deadwood Gaming Association (DGA) represents the 18 gaming casinos in town. While the industry was greatly supportive of legalizing sports betting, the association’s interests have differing views when it comes to online sportsbooks.

A legislative effort to legalize mobile sports betting is making substantial progress in the South Dakota capital. Senate Resolution 502 would authorize land-based sportsbooks inside Deadwood casinos to additionally take bets online. The bill would require sportsbook computer servers to stay within Deadwood city limits — the only place in South Dakota where commercial gambling is permitted.

Sports betting in Deadwood is currently available at Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort, Gold Dust Casino, Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort, Dale’s Sportsbook Bar & Grill, and Mustang Sally’s.

Industry Undecided

The mobile sports betting bill would allow Deadwood and tribal casinos that operate brick-and-mortar sports betting to run mobile sports gambling.

The Senate Resolution narrowly passed the South Dakota Senate on Monday by a vote of 18-17. The statute was read for the first time in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The Deadwood Gaming Association has refrained from testifying before lawmakers in Pierre because the casinos have not been able to find common ground on the gaming issue.

We did not reach a consensus here in Deadwood,” said Mike Rodman, executive director of the DGA. “Some of the operators in Deadwood believe the biggest benefit of sports wagering is bringing people to Deadwood.”

Rodman added that Deadwood sports bettors are likely to spend money in other areas of the casino and around town. “They play cards or buy a hotel room or eat in our restaurants,” the gaming representative stated.

There are other casino executives who believe online sportsbooks are needed in order to better compete with neighboring sports betting states. Iowa and Wyoming, for example, have mobile sports betting operational.

The thinking in that camp is that increased sports betting activity from online operations would more than offset the potential in-person revenue sports bettors might spend.

Deadwood Differs

Mobile sports betting is the preferred wagering method of choice in states that legally permit it. But Deadwood is a unique casino market that is trying to regain visitors to the remote historic Gold Rush town.

Deadwood has experienced a visitation decline since the popular HBO series “Deadwood” went off the air in 2006.

Rodman said during the authoring of the first sports betting bill that included only in-person betting that the goal is to increase visitors to the Black Hills. Talking with Casino.org, Rodman explained now that the goal is twofold.

“One, to keep Deadwood relevant. Two, we knew that it [sports betting] would drive further visitation to Deadwood, particularly in the times of the year that we really need it.”

Deadwood’s busy season is the summer, and is highlighted each year by the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August.

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