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Deadwood looking for way to boost sports betting, wants mobile wagering

PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota voters might get the chance next year to decide whether they want to allow mobile sports wagering through Deadwood gambling houses.

The state House Commerce and Energy Committee on Wednesday voted 7-6 to send forward HJR-5006.

Next stop is the House of Representatives, which could debate it as early as Thursday afternoon.

Last year a similar measure edged through the Senate 18-17 before dying in the House State Affairs Committee.

Roger Tellinghuisen, representing Deadwood Gaming Association, said the Black Hills city hasn’t seen the boom expected when South Dakota voters legalized sports wagering there in 2020.

But several of the Noem administration’s lobbyists spoke against allowing mobile wagering, calling it an expansion of gambling.

The governor won’t get a direct say because resolutions aren’t subject to vetoes.

The proposed constitutional amendment specifies that the mobile bets would have to be placed through servers located in Deadwood.

Republican Rep. Steve Duffy called for the committee to endorse the ballot measure. “I’m not a gambler. I wish we hadn’t gone done this road 40 years ago, but here we are.”

Republican Rep. Joe Donnell said this wasn’t a good time for expansion because there are so many problems already with mental illness. He said the proposal’s supporters could gather signatures for the ballot measure instead.

Three tribal governments — Crow Creek, Sisseton Wahpeton and Oglala — currently offer sports wagering at their casinos through state-tribal compacts.

No one at the hearing could answer Donnell’s questions about how those compacts would be affected if mobile bets have to go through Deadwood.

“There’s no explanation of how this impacts the tribes,” Donnell said.

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