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South Dakota Online Gambling Laws

The purpose of this section of our guide is to provide clear and concise information regarding gambling laws in the state of South Dakota. We will cover both online and land based gambling options, and will discuss the legality and availability of South Dakota online gambling specifically. In addition we will address SD online casinos, poker, sports betting and bingo gambling.

What is the Legal Definition of Gambling in South Dakota?

South Dakota gambling law has a tautologically-tinged definition of gambling. In fact the section that defines gambling does not really define gambling but just repeats the term. Gambling in any form with dice, cards or other devices or implements wherein anything of value is wagered on the result or outcome is a class 2 misdemeanor. Most sections of South Dakota gambling law are targeted at those who keep establishments for gambling or allow their establishments to be used for gambling. Those who engage in an illegal gambling activity as mere players will be charged with a misdemeanor offence.

What Are the Poker Gambling Laws in South Dakota?

In most states, the gambling law makes an exception for social or home poker games. There is no such exception in South Dakota. Home poker games are illegal in South Dakota, no exceptions. In fact playing poker outside of legal gambling establishments in South Dakota is illegal. It is currently not legal to operate an online poker site within the state of South Dakota. There are however a small number of online poker rooms which are legally licensed by a governing jurisdiction which has legalized online poker, and that accept players from South Dakota. These operations are located outside of the United States, hence they can legally offer online poker gambling options to US players. Because these sites accept players from SD, they are often referred to as South Dakota online poker sites.

Do South Dakota Gambling Laws Prohibit Online Gambling?

South Dakota is one of the few states to specifically address the issue of online gambling in its laws. However these laws are aimed at those who operate online gambling sites and business as well as those who accept online bets from South Dakota gamblers. These are all felony offenses under South Dakota law. The law does not contain any provision applicable to those who engage in online poker or online gambling as mere players. Until the state of South Dakota adopts laws which allow state sponsored online gambling operations to exist, we highly recommend you stay away from any type of gambling operation that is not legally licensed and certified. There are online gambling sites licensed and located outside if the United States which accept players from SD, and which provide a legal online gambling experience for players in the United States. They span a variety of venues, including South Dakota sports betting, casino gambling, poker, and even online bingo halls accepting South Dakota players.

Federal Online Gambling Laws Which Affect South Dakota Players

There are currently not any federal laws which prohibit or criminalize online gambling for players from South Dakota or anywhere in the US. The UIGEA bill of 2006 does not prohibit players from engaging in online gambling, but rather places strict regulatory oversight on the online gambling operations and the payment processors regarding how online gambling transactions can be processed. It was not an effort to prohibit online gambling participation, but rather to prevent fraudulent, unethical or dangerous financial practices which put players and operators at risk. The law has driven the industry standards to be more secure and transparent, and has resulted in safe and more reliable funding methods for USA players.

History of Gambling In South Dakota

South Dakota has a long history of gambling. The town of Deadwood was established during the Black Hills gold rush in 1876. Gambling halls thrived in the town. Wild Bill Hickok was murdered in the town in a game of poker holding pairs of black aces and eights. In the 1900s reformers began to speak up against gambling. When the Prohibition Act was passed, it did bring down gambling but did not stop it completely. When the Act was repealed in 1935 gambling once again flourished. Finally in the 1950s the state legislature began taking steps to curb illegal gambling.

What Are the laws Concerning South Dakota Horse and Dog Race Betting?

Wagering on horse and dog races were the first form of gambling to be legalized in South Dakota in the middle of the 20th century. Today there are no horse or dog tracks in the state. The last commercial horse track shut down in 1982 while the last of the greyhound tracks shut down in the early 1990s but remained open for simulcasting until 1994. Off track betting started in 1990. Today there are four off track betting locations in South Dakota.

What Are the South Dakota Gambling Laws Concerning Charitable Gambling?

Charitable gambling was legalized in 1970. A constitutional amendment allowed qualified organizations to offer certain forms of gaming for charitable purposes. Poker is not permitted for charitable gaming purposes. As of today, charitable gambling is limited to bingo and certain forms of lottery. Qualified organizations include bona fide charitable, religious, educational, fraternal or veterans organizations; volunteer fire departments; civic and service clubs and other similar organizations recognized by the state. The net proceeds of the charitable gambling event must be used for charitable, educations, religious, patriotic or other public uses.

Is There a South Dakota State Lottery?

In 1986 the voters approved the establishment of a SD state lottery. The first lottery ticket was sold in September 1987. One of the more interesting developments in state-sponsored gambling has been the subcontracting of lottery games to private corporations such as G-Tech and Scientific Games. When states subcontract, also termed privatize, states permit a private firm to conduct the lottery, and the state merely takes a certain percentage of either the gross amount in the betting pool or a certain percentage of net revenue. The first state to privatize its lottery was South Dakota.

In March 1989 a law was passed by the state legislature authorizing video lottery terminals. In November 1992 the voters voted against a measure to repeal the video lottery but in 1994 the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that video lottery is unconstitutional. All video lottery machines in the state shut down in August 1994. However they were restarted in November after the voters approved a constitutional amendment authorizing video lottery. South Dakota bars and taverns can have video lottery machines offering poker, keno, blackjack, and bingo. In 2006 the voters again rejected a measure to repeal the video lottery.

Is There Any Legal Land Based Gambling In South Dakota?

South Dakota has its share of legal casinos. In 1988 voters voted in favor of setting up limited stakes casinos in Deadwood. The first casino opened in December 1989. In 1988 Congress passed an Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which permitted the development of gambling casinos on tribal lands under federal regulation. By 2000 eight casinos had been built on South Dakota reservations, and more were on the way. Today there are nine Indian casinos in the state.

South Dakota Gambling Laws

This content is designed to serve as informational only and is not intended to serve as or in place of professional legal services of any kind. We are not attorneys and do not provide any type of legal services or advice. If you are seeking professional legal service or professional interpretation of any law or statute, then we recommend that you contact a licensed attorney.

Anyone interested in reviewing the gambling laws and statutes for South Dakota in their original context can visit the South Dakota Legislature Official Website for direct access to the official documents in their entirety.