South Dakota Legal Gambling Laws

South Dakota Poker Laws

Is Online Poker / Gambling Legal in South Dakota?

South Dakota enacted gambling laws which give its citizens the right to engage in pari-mutuel betting at a handful of horse racetracks in the state, as well as a state lottery. The biggest gambling presence in South Dakota is the 49 different casino operations located in 16 different South Dakotan towns and cities. Deadwood is the capital of gambling in South Dakota.

It's probably no surprise that South Dakota has a large gaming industry. First, the state is home to some of the most famous Native American tribes in American history. This includes the Cheyenne, the Lakota Sioux, the Dakota and Yankton Sioux, the Ponca, and the Arikara tribes. South Dakota was the location of the famous Battle of the Little Big Horn where General George Custer and the US Cavalry was defeated by a coalition of Indian tribes in the Black Hills of South Dakota, after gold was discovered in the Black Hills--and therefore white settlers wanted Native American lands. The large Native American presence means that Indian casinos were bound to appear after the Gaming Compact was signed.

Second, South Dakota is home to 6 of the 11 lowest-income counties in America. South Dakota isn't a rich state, so it's natural that the government would want to raise revenues through non-taxation. South Dakota has its share of tourism going to places like Deadwood, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Mount Rushmore. This means local casinos can bring in revenues from tourists who visit from all over the United States and Canada.

Exploring South Dakota's Poker Laws

Poker players in South Dakota are holding a mixed bag when it comes to the ability to legally play poker for real money. In a nutshell: options do exist, but the law is generally quite restrictive with regards to the game.
We'll start by referring back to South Dakota's definition of what it means to gamble, located in Section 22-25-1 of the state code. You'll note that the definition cites "cards" - so it's reasonable for one to conclude that betting real money on a game played with cards (including poker) qualifies as gambling per the letter of South Dakota law.

With that knowledge in hand, we'll move on to identifying the ways you can legally gambling in South Dakota that could potentially include poker. The most obvious: poker is available at live rooms in casinos across the state. Cadillac Jack's Gaming Resort, The Lodge at Deadwood and the Dakota Sioux Casino are just a few of the commercial and tribal casinos that spread live action poker.

That's the good news. The bad news, as you might have anticipated, is that there aren't any other undisputedly legal routes to real-money games of poker in South Dakota. Charitable gambling, detailed primarily in Section 22-25-25 is restricted to a list of games that doesn't include poker. And a social gambling exception to the law, which allows players to participate in home games in states like California without committing a crime, is nowhere to be found on South Dakota's books.

Local Gambling Laws in South Dakota

State and local authorities don't always see eye-to-eye, but the South Dakota government tends to take a pro-gambling stance. For instance, in 2011 the mayor of Sioux Falls was sued by a casino owner from that city, because the mayor attempted zoning laws which would eliminate casino gambling in his town. The South Dakota Supreme Court listened to this case and ruled the mayor had no right to create these zoning laws.

What regulation gambling does have in the state is handled by the South Dakota Commission on Gaming, which oversees horse track racing and casino gaming.

Casinos in Deadwood, South Dakota

Deadwood is the premier casino city in South Dakota. Deadwood, a city of 1,270 people, has 31 different casino gaming locations. Many of the gambling halls are found inside restaurants and hotels. Deadwood is the same city made famous because it was frequented by Old West figures like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Al Swearengen. Deadwood was the inspiration for the HBO show of the same name. These days, the small town on the far western border with Wyoming. The casinos allowed to exist by South Dakota law are often small mom-and-pop operations.

The Silverado Franklin Historic Hotel and Gaming Complex has 360 gaming machines, including Wheel of Fortune progressive dollar slots, Wheel of Fortune video slots, and Jeopardy Slots from IGT. Forty-seven of the machines are progressive slots. The Silverado Casino also houses 20 table games, including 5 poker tables, 3 blackjack tables, two 3-card poker tables, and 1 Let It Ride table. A similar set-up in Deadwood is the Gold Dust Gaming Complex, which has 250 gaming machines and 9 table games.

An example of the second tier of casinos in Deadwood is the hotel with a smaller, but still substantial gaming area. For instance, the Celebrity Hotel & Casino has 84 gaming machines, along with 2 table and poker games. This establishment has Guitar Bar for food and drinks, alogn with 24 rooms for rent.

For an example of the third size of casinos in Deadwood, take a look at the Best Western Hickok House. This restaurant and casino is home to 27 gaming machines, along with the Hickok House restaurant and bar and a 45-room hotel.

Learn About Other State Laws

Legal Casino Gambling in South Dakota

Eighteen other legal gambling casinos are found in 15 other cities in South Dakota. These cities are Eagle Butte, Flandreau, Fort Thompson, Huron, Lower Brule, Martin, Mission, Mobridge, Pickston, Pine Ridge, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Sisseton, Spearfish, and Watertown. A handful of these gambling establishments aren't actually casinos, but bingo halls like CRST Bingo in Eagle Butte. Most offer casino gambling, though.

Horse Track Racing Laws in South Dakota

The Commission on Gaming has two different offices in South Dakota. The first office is in Deadwood, while the second office is in Fort Pierre. Fort Pierre is also home to one of two horse tracks, at the Stanley County Fairgrounds. Aberdeen is home to the second horse track, found at the Brown County Fairgrounds.

South Dakota Lottery

South Dakota also has a state lottery. Lotto games available include Mega Millions, Powerball, Hot Lotto, Wild Card 2, and Dakota Cash. Gamblers also can play the scratch ticket games and video lottery.

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