Deadwood vows to press ahead with effort to land sports betting

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DEADWOOD, S.D. (KOTA TV) -- It's back to work for Deadwood on sports wagering.

The South Dakota House decided not to take a vote on the town's effort to put sports betting on the ballot but that's not the end of the line say Deadwood boosters.

A majority in the House voted Wednesday to put sports betting on its calendar but the move takes a super majority and so the measure died.

The bill would have put the matter before the state's voters in November 2020.

"I'm extremely disappointed that the vote didn't go the way that we would have liked it to go for the voters of South Dakota to have that voice on if they want to have sports betting in the state," said Cadillac Jack's General Manager David Schneiter.

But that may not be the end of the story.

"Oh we'll press forward," Schneiter said. "There's a lot of interest throughout the nation for sports betting. There's more jurisdictions, more states that are moving forward with sports betting than are not."

Now Deadwood's gaming industry will press ahead with efforts to gather the roughly 34,000 signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot.

"We'll be interviewing various firms that may help us on the signature collection and we plan on moving forward," said Mike Rodman from the Deadwood Gaming Association. "We think that it is imperative that the voters of South Dakota have a right to weigh in on sports wagering and we want to give them that opportunity."

The effort in Pierre faced headwinds from Day One. Gov. Kristi Noem spoke against it and House Majority Leader Lee Qualm, R-Platte, fought it at every step.

But optimism in Deadwood is hard to stamp out.

"There is no doubt that there is a lot of support out there and that we'll get those signatures," said Rodman.