Senate committee approves letting South Dakota voters to decide on mobile sports wagering
The Senate Commerce and Energy Committee voted 5-4 on Tuesday in support of a joint resolution that would let voters decide whether South Dakotans could make sports bets on their phones or other electronic devices.
Current regulations limit sports wagering and gambling to casinos in Deadwood. Voters would decide in the November general election to approve a constitutional amendment to expand it to electronic devices with Deadwood serving as the hub.
Sen. Kyle Schoenfish, R-Scotland, the sponsor of the resolution, said the state is losing money to other states and illegal betting operations.
Seth Pearman, an attorney for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, agreed.
“We see Iowa siphoning cash all the time for sports betting,” Pearman told the committee. The resolution would also “protect the substantial investment that a lot of properties have already made to their sportsbooks.”
The expansion has the potential to “change the face of South Dakota,” said South Dakota Department of Revenue Deputy Secretary David Wiest, who said the language could force the state to accept bets from other states and cities outside of the U.S.
Wiest also questioned why it was coming before the Legislature. Most proposed constitutional amendments require petitions with signatures before they are placed on the ballot, he said.
“They need to circulate petitions for signatures just like everyone else,” Wiest said.
Rep. Scott Odenbach, R-Spearfish, testified before the committee and urged lawmakers to kill the resolution.
“I think we really need to stop and think before we add another means of basically addictive gambling in this state for people to do in the back of convenience stores and gas stations while their families go without the money spent on this video lottery 2.0,” Odenbach said.
Laura Ringling of the Department of Social Services said expanding sports betting would fuel addiction, financial harms and mental health issues as gambling is “mercilessly addictive.”
Sen. Wayne Steinhauer. R-Hartford, tried to get the bill moved to another day, but his motion failed.
“In South Dakota, we’re for freedom and personal responsibility, and, to me, that means we should not be restricted as we are with sports betting right now,” Sen. David Wheeler R-Huron, said in support of the resolution. “Its completely legal for you to drive into Iowa and do the same thing. The social ills that come with it already exist.”
The bill is expected to go before the full Senate this week.
This article was originally posted on Senate committee approves letting South Dakota voters to decide on mobile sports wagering