DEADWOOD, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Deadwood casino owners hope to put the decision on sports betting there in the hands of South Dakota voters. They came up short in the legislature earlier this year ... but they aren't giving up.
Thirteen states in the U.S. have legal sports betting. The city of Deadwood is trying to get legislators to put it on the 2020 ballot and allow voters to decide.
"We are going to ask the legislature to put it on the ballot, we think that we're very close and with the changes that have happened," said Mike Rodman, Deadwood Gaming Association's executive director. "Iowa just started sports wagering last month. Given the popularity that we're seeing with Iowa, we think that there's a good reason why we should be talking to the legislature and having them put it on the ballot."
Iowa has an interesting geo-fence concept where players register and can bet but only from within Iowa state limits, thus keeping betting within the state.
"We think that's a good model and that's been successful in the early stages in Iowa and that maybe something that the legislature should look at," Rodman said.
A majority of Iowa's betting pertains to college athletics. This month's in-state rivalry game of Iowa vs. Iowa State with the Hawkeyes winning by a point was a huge success for sports betting there.
"Part of the reason we're trying to pursue this is our customers are asking for it and we want to give our customers those opportunities that they want," said Rodman.
Being just a state away from Iowa, Deadwood officials believe South Dakota could easily have economic benefits from legalization. They say these benefits would impact the state as a whole.
"If we had this opportunity in our state, it wouldn't be of benefit just to the community of Deadwood, it would be of benefit to everyone in the state of South Dakota," said Kevin Wagner, Executive Director of Deadwood-Lead Economic Development. "Iowa obviously hit the nail on the head when they decided to launch this. I think that we have the same opportunities to piggyback off of their success."
Success in Iowa was obvious. In the first month of sports betting action, the handle for the month of August was more than $8.5 million, with more than $2.1 million in revenue.