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S. Dakota sports betting would require constitutional change

May 14, 2018

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota’s constitution would have to be changed for legal sports betting to come to the state, Attorney General Marty Jackley said Monday.

Jackley’s statement came after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal law that bans gambling on sports in most states. In South Dakota, a constitutional amendment and further legislation regulating sports betting would be needed for it to occur, Jackley said.

A Deadwood gambling advocacy group is discussing trying to put a sports betting constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2020. Deadwood Gaming Association executive director Mike Rodman said his organization thinks it would be good for the historic mining town.

“We think that thousands of South Dakotans want to wager in sports betting, but they want to do it in a legal, safe environment, and so we’d like to give them that opportunity,” Rodman said. “I think that whenever we can take illegal gaming and make it legal and ... regulated, it’s good for the consumer.”

Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s office said in a statement that the state doesn’t currently have any reliable estimates on the economic effect or revenue that sports betting could generate.

“I welcome this decision because it recognizes the right of states to regulate in this area,” Daugaard said.

The Legislature can decide to place a constitutional change before voters or amendment supporters could collect thousands of signatures to put it on the ballot. South Dakota voters in 2014 enthusiastically approved an amendment authorizing lawmakers to allow keno, craps and roulette in Deadwood.

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