Guide to Gambling in South Dakota

South Dakota

South Dakota is one of the States of the Union that has gambling coursing through its ancestral veins, beginning in the heady gold rush days. The usual ‘ban everything’ mentality followed immediately thereafter.

Whilst growing out of its prohibition period slowly, gambling in South Dakota now is still somewhat restricted with a limited number of casinos (both commercial and tribal), a healthy horse racing industry, legal Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) competitions for real money and a large number of video lottery machines.

However, by 2021, changes have crept into the South Dakota system with voters deciding to give the state its first taste of legal sports betting in the historic town of Deadwood.

South Dakota Casino Gambling

Both tribal and commercial venues operate inside South Dakota, and currently the state is home to almost 50 casinos of differing specifications and sizes. The town of Deadwood is the center of South Dakota’s casino gambling industry with a number of establishments there (although fewer than the high point of 80 casinos during the late 1990’s).

Following commercial casino legalization in 1989, tribal casinos got their start in 1993. Across both casino forms in South Dakota, you’ll find more than 5000 slot machines and almost 100 table games. There have been some big maximum bet limit increases in South Dakota in recent years, going from as little as $5 in 1989, up to $100 in 2000 and rising again to a very generous maximum bet limit of $1000 in 2013.

South Dakota’s casinos are all entitled to offer slots, video poker, table games that use cards, and live poker.

‘Video Lottery’ casinos (usually in bars and other licensed establishments) can install up to 10 machines per location. South Dakota’s video lottery machines came up for repeal in an unsuccessful state-wide referendum in 1992.

Online Casinos in South Dakota

Online gaming options in South Dakota that can be played legally are limited exclusively to horse and greyhound racing betting and DFS competitions.

The State of South Dakota does not currently offer online casino for either its visitors or residents, although to sign up to online casinos in NJ is legal, for the time being it is still illegal to play them unless you travel to Garden State, or another closer legal state like Michigan.

In all likelihood, South Dakota won’t have online casino betting options in the short-term. Blocking its passage is a piece of legislation that specifically targets online gambling in the state. Section 22-25A-8 of the State Code specifically targets the establishment of any business that conducts gambling online as illegal;

‘Establishment of internet gambling business prohibited…no person may establish a location or site in this state from which to conduct a gambling business on or over the internet or an interactive computer service.’

Moreover, South Dakota’s penalties for breaching the anti-online gambling laws are strict. Section 22-25A-10 determines it to be a Class 6 felony for the first offense and a Class 5 felony for all subsequent offenses.

Before any form of online gambling can be introduced to South Dakota, the state’s lawmakers will be required to amend the stiff penalties, and then work on licensing and regulations of the industry.

Poker in South Dakota

Social ‘home’ Poker games are not legal in South Dakota. Playing home poker games are deemed to contravene South Dakota’s anti-gambling laws.

If you’d like to play Poker in South Dakota legally without fear of breaking the law, see section below for information on the State’s Poker Rooms.

Poker Rooms

Live Poker options exist in South Dakota at Tribal and Commercial Casinos throughout the state. South Dakota has a total of 18 poker tables spread across its 7 available poker rooms. A number of poker games are available including Casino Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Crazy Pineapple, Texas Hold’em, Dealers Choice, Omaha and No Limit Texas Hold’em among others.

Online Poker Laws

If you’re interested in playing Poker legally without any fear of legal punishment, stick to South Dakota’s land-based casinos for the time being.

Online Poker is a currently not a legal option for the gamblers of South Dakota and given the number of video lottery terminals that are earning the South Dakota State Lottery millions, don’t expect the topic is to be scheduled for discussion by the state’s lawmakers anytime soon. See above section – ‘Online Casinos in South Dakota’ for further clarification.

History of Online & Land-Based Gambling in South Dakota

1933; Horse Racing Betting legalized.

1986; Charitable gambling legalized & South Dakota’s Lottery begins.

1989; Casino Gambling begins in the historic town of Deadwood.

1990; Simulcast horse racing betting introduced.

1993; Tribal Casinos okayed for business in South Dakota.

2000 & 2013; Betting limits in Deadwood raised firstly to $100, and then to the current $1000.

2015; Craps, keno and roulette legalized for play at all South Dakota casinos.

2018; Government White Paper calls for legal sports betting in South Dakota.

2020 – South Dakota’s voters clear the way for land-based sports betting to begin in the historic town of Deadwood.

Visit our page on South Dakota’s online sports betting for more information on the state’s top sites and the laws that govern those sites