Deadwood’s sports betting law goes into effect today

Workers constructing Deadwood Mountain Grand’s new sportsbook lounge take a break from installing TVs and such at the bar portion of the room, just installed Tuesday. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

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DEADWOOD — Today, sports wagering service providers can submit their $5,000 applications to the South Dakota Gaming Commission for consideration, as Senate Bill 44, which ushers in sports wagering in Deadwood is now in effect and operators are already tuning in their TVs.

“Obviously, the gaming commission has to do the background and investigations and that process they have to go through to get them licensed so that they can provide the services to the casinos here in Deadwood,” said Deadwood Gaming Association (DGA) Executive Director Mike Rodman. “Each one of the casinos will team up with a service provider. They’re basically the folks that will work with them, set the odds and probably provide the equipment and the expertise for the sports wagering.”

Rodman estimates around 10 properties in Deadwood will be the first to offer sports wagering.

“Hopefully, the first part of September, when it goes live in Deadwood,” he said. “The idea being, we want to try and catch the football season, if we can, so that’s the goal.”

The first of a two-step process to develop sports wagering rules was put into place May 18 when the South Dakota Commission on Gaming (SDCG) adopted six rules as proposed by the Legislative Research Council that will help govern the operation of sports betting in an estimated 10 gaming establishments planning to offer the highly anticipated betting option when it debuts in Deadwood this fall.

Rule amendments approved by the commission include: the establishment of a $5,000 application fee for a sports wagering services provider; a rule granting the gaming commission access to premises and production of records; a rule prohibiting gaming by licensees, i.e., prohibiting services providers or licensees employed by sports wagering service providers from wagering on sporting events; a rule adding wagering on sporting events to the authorized games in Deadwood; a rule to include sports wagering in adjusted gross revenue computations; and a rule adding sports wagering to areas that are required to be monitored by surveillance.

The next step in the rules process is development of the detailed rules, which gaming officials are hopeful of having in place the first part of September, in time for football season.

“The hearing will be July 14 at The Lodge at Deadwood,” Rodman said. “Prior to that, July 7, a ‘Basics of Sports Wagering’ training seminar, put on by GLI in Pierre at the Capitol building will be held. Kind of like a Sports Wagering 101, a basic understanding of sports wagering.”

The rules hearing on July 14 involves 106 pages of potential rules that are currently on the SDGC’s web site.

“That’s what we’ll be going over at that point in time,” Rodman said. “The rules will potentially be approved July 14 and then they’ll go back to the Legislative Interim Rules Committee for consideration Aug. 2 and if the get approved on the second, they get filed and become law 20 days after that, so that’s why we’re saying roughly around the first of September.”

In regard to exactly what sports wagering will consist of in Deadwood and what opportunities will be available for gamers, Rodman said the rules hearing July 14 will clarify.

“I assume that they will put out a catalog of the events that they will allow,” Rodman said. “That’s what’s typically been happening in other jurisdictions. I assume that’s what’s going to happen in South Dakota, but again, we’ll have to see how the rules develop. How they’re going to handle it and what things they’ll allow wagers to take place on.”

Examples of possible betting games run the gamut and include: badminton, baseball, basketball, biathlon, boxing, corn hole, cycling, darts, football, golf, handball, lacrosse, motor sports, netball, pool, rodeo, snooker, and others.

Per SB44, Rodman explained the parameters of sports wagering.  Importantly, a sports wagering bettor must place their wager in person inside the premises of a licensed gaming facility in Deadwood.

“It will be conducted inside the premises of a licensed gaming facility in Deadwood through wagers on sporting events placed in one of the following ways: at a betting window with a casino employee, at a kiosk, or on a mobile device,” Rodman said. “Most sports wagering bettors will probably open sports wagering accounts with an advance deposit and bets will be subtracted and their winnings deposited.  You will not be able to bet on high school sporting events, South Dakota collegiate contests, and minor league sporting events.”

Rodman pointed out that according to federal law, whatever gaming is allowed in Deadwood, the tribes can do the same.

“So it’s just a matter of the tribes amending their compacts with the state, so if they want to be in sports wagering, they’ll be able to do that,” Rodman said.

Deadwood operators are currently busy installing television sets and making lounges as comfortable and appealing to potential gamers, as possible.

“What we’re seeing right now is the investments by some of the gaming properties in town for their sports wagering lounges,” Rodman said. “There are some significant investments being made.”

Work is currently being done at Deadwood Mountain Grand, the Franklin Hotel, Tin Lizzie, and The Lodge at Deadwood.

The Lodge will open “BetLodge Sportsbook” on the casino floor sometime in September.

“The sportsbook should be open for bets at that time,” said The Lodge at Deadwood Casino General Manager Weston Pleinis. “We have been working with Daktronics to put in a huge video wall that will be about 36 ft. wide and 8 ft. high in the casino with comfortable lounge seating. The viewing area should be completed sometime in October to early November.”

In the meantime, guests can the watch the big games at Oggies Sportsbar.

“When completed the sportsbook will have a very Vegas like feel to it, with multiple sporting feeds able to view at once in a comfortable setting,” Pleinis said. “We plan to carry all the big sporting events and pay per view fights as well when completed. We are excited to see this new chapter begin in Deadwood. I think it will create a lot of fun and excitement for Deadwood, especially during the winter months.”

According to a study by Oxford Economics, sports wagering could generate $6.1 million in direct sports wagering income and create a total of $22.1 million in overall gaming increases for South Dakota, a 15% increase, overall.

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