Sports-betting ballot could provide boost for South Dakota Index rating

Sports betting will be on the ballot in South Dakota during the US presidential elections in November as residents are called upon to decide whether or not to regulate the sector. 

Should South Dakotans vote in favor of either online or casino premises betting it would boost the state’s Wedge Index from 33rd place to at least 12th.

Two other states, Maryland and Louisiana, will also be voting on sports-betting regulations on November 3. Both are expected to vote in favor and South Dakota is likely to do the same, despite being considered the most conservative of the three states.

Issues with the neighbors

One of the reasons the measure is likely to be approved is because the Great Falls casino in Larchwood, Iowa, is just 20 miles east of South Dakota’s largest city Sioux Falls.

Iowa has already regulated its owns sports-betting market.

Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association, which is the trade association of commercial casinos on South Dakota, said he said he would not be surprised if the majority of sports wagers at the Grand Falls Casino were made by residents of South Dakota.

“We believe in individual rights,” he told “I think a majority of the population will look at this, and say, ‘People should have the right to decide whether they want to place a sports wager or not.’”

Nudge theory

Previously states such as South Dakota might not have shown many leanings or held opinions about sport- betting regulation within their borders.

The wave of legalization that has occurred since 2018 has seen many players from states where the products are not regulated travel to neighboring states and spend their gambling money there.

Thus states like South Dakota have been forced to move with the times.

The local newspaper the Rapid City Journal has written in favor of legalized sports-betting.

Rodman said he was keeping an eye on whether the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, the state’s largest newspaper, would follow suit.

So far there has been no organized opposition to sports-betting in South Dakota or the other two states.


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