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DFP Explains Amendment B: Sports Betting in Deadwood

I’ve been remiss in my duties as explainer of ballot questions. Over a quarter of you have cast your ballots already (well done, patriots!), so that’s 152,000 of you readers who already got all the explanation you needed of Amendment B, Amendment A, and Initiated Measure 26.

But there are another 425,000 of you whose pens are still hovering over the bubbles. So don’t let Pat Powers’s pish-toshing of the late hard hits his party is taking fool you: talking to voters about the choices the vast majority of them still haven’t made is still worth the effort.

One of the issues late voters face in South Dakota is Amendment B, a measure to amend Article 3, Section 25 of the South Dakota Constitution to add “wagering on sports events” to roulette, keno, craps, limited card games, and slot machines as the ways Deadwood casinos can separate fools from their money.

Amendment V reads as follows. Text to be added is underlined, text to be removed is overstruck:

Section 2. That Article III, § 25 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, be AMENDED:

The Legislature shall may not authorize any game of chance, lottery, or gift enterprise, under any pretense, or for any purpose whatever provided, however, it shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize by law, bona fide veterans, charitable, educational, religious or fraternal organizations, civic and service clubs, volunteer fire departments, or such other public spirited organizations as it may recognize, to conduct games of chance when the entire net proceeds of such games of chance are to be devoted to educational, charitable, patriotic, religious, or other public spirited uses. However, it shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize by law a state lottery or video games of chance, or both, which are regulated by the State of South Dakota, either separately by the state or jointly with one or more states, and which are owned and operated by the State of South Dakota, either separately by the state or jointly with one or more states or persons, provided any such video games of chance shall may not directly dispense coins or tokens. However, the Legislature shall may not expand the statutory authority existing as of June 1, 1994, regarding any private ownership of state lottery games or video games of chance, or both. The Legislature shall establish the portion of proceeds due the state from such lottery or video games of chance, or both, and the purposes for which those proceeds are to be used. SDCL 42-7A, and its amendments, regulations, and related laws, and all acts and contracts relying for authority upon such laws and regulations, beginning July 1, 1987, to the effective date of this amendment, are ratified and approved. Further, it shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize by law, roulette, keno, craps, wagering on sporting events, limited card games and slot machines within the city limits of Deadwood. The entire net Municipal proceeds of such roulette, keno, craps, wagering on sporting events, card games, and slot machines shall be devoted to the Historic Restoration and Preservation of Deadwood [Amendment B, as placed on the ballot by 2020 Senate Joint Resolution 501, delivered to the Secretary of State 2020.03.09].

The language specifies wagering on “sporting events.” Under Amendment B, Deadwood casinos still could not open books on the Presidential election (2020: Biden 7/15, Trump 2/1; 2024: Ann Coulter and Chelsea Clinton each 100/1, but no book on Kristi Noem yet). However, “sporting events” could include e-sports, local softball and volleyball leagues, and high school sports. So if you want to bet on the Vikings (hey, it’s your money) but don’t want the unseemliness of Deadwood casinos taking bets on the State Cross-Country Meet (run yesterday in the snow at Hart Ranchsee awesome photos here of the toughest kids in South Dakota!), you’ll need to trust the Legislature, which will still have to pass laws to regulate sports betting in Deadwood, as it had to pass Senate Bill 57 in 2015 to regulate craps, roulette, and keno after we passed Amendment Q in 2014. The Legislature could easily follow Iowa’s lead in allowing betting on professional sports only, not minor-league or youth sports.

In addition to the substance of the amendment to add sports betting, note the style and form change, replacing the word shall with may in three negative constructions. This change would no practical effect—the casinos and everyone else have interpreted shall not practically to mean sports betting is illegal; this change merely sharpens the grammatical point to comply with the Legislative Research Council’s normal guidance for drafting legislation:

IMPERATIVE, PERMISSIVE AND PROHIBITIVE CONSTRUCTION

The verbs used in legislation should be active and in the present tense. Verbs are generally imperative, permissive, or prohibitive. This is a guide to usage:

  • shall=required action
  • may=permitted action
  • may only=restricted permitted action
  • may not=prohibited action
  • must=action required as a condition of something; used with inanimate subjects
  • must be=required condition
  • is=statement of condition

Legislation giving discretion to an officer or board through the use of “may” must also establish guidelines to be followed in exercising that discretion. A negative used with “may” negates the obligation and permission to act and is the stronger prohibition. A negative used with “shall” negates the obligation, but not the permission, to act and therefore should be avoided [Legislative Research Council, “Guide to Legislative Drafting,” revised 2019, p. 25].

The Deadwood casinos considered doing an initiative petition drive to place this measure on the ballot. But our casino masters didn’t get rich by being stupid. Why would they burn time and money running around the state collecting 33,921 signatures when they could simply lobby 60 legislators to vote yea on Senate Joint Resolution 501? The gamers sent their proposal to the Capitol, got the Governor to keep quiet, and secured the majorities necessary in each chamber (24–10 in the Senate, a closer 36–27 in the House) to give all of us the chance to vote on this additional revenue stream for the casinos and fun stream for Deadwood visitors.

Six Deadwood gaming companies have each thrown in $20K to promote sports betting. The South Dakota Retailers Association supports Amendment B, saying “sports betting is already widespread” and would capture dollars currently lost to other states. The Legislative Research Council estimated in 2018 that sports gambling in Deadwood would generate $185,000 in new tax revenue to be shared by the state and local governments.

No opponents have formed a ballot question committee to spend money against Amendment B, but Speaker of the House Steven Haugaard rose to the challenge of writing the Con statement in the Secretary of State’s official Ballot Question Pamphlet. Saying that the coronavirus pandemic “has taught us that we need to respect and care for our fellow man” (I’m thinking that deserves a blog post of its own), Speaker Haugaard says gambling addiction has led to increased suicides because “we, the State of South Dakota, cared more about revenue that human lives.” Speaker Haugaard warns that “Sports can already be an obsession. It shouldn’t be atraining ground for young people to develop a gambling addiction.”

Amendment B is a straightforward amendment. Vote for Amendment B, and you open the door for casinos to offer and gamblers to participate in sports betting in Deadwood. Vote against Amendment B, and you keep sports betting in Deadwood illegal.

15 Comments

  1. grudznick 2020-10-25

    Vote against the overgodder Mr. Haugaard. Go all in on the amendment lettered B.

  2. leslie 2020-10-25

    “Mark that down and tape it on your mirror”-trump, “they are rapists, they will pay for the wall…4mark my words”.

    Trump and grdz-counting bad. Testing bad.

    “sports betting is already widespread”

    Consistency of pathologic brains.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-10-25

    While Amendment B doesn’t mention our Lakota brothers and sisters, federal law says that any games allowed in a commercial establishment are also allowed in Indian casinos in the state. So a vote for sports betting in Deadwood is also a vote for sports betting on our reservations.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-10-25

    The Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce is remaining neutral on Amendment B, since it “does not pertain to the greater Sioux Falls area.”

    Um, did the Chamber consider that sports betting in Deadwood might draw tourists away from Sioux Falls to Deadwood? Or does the SF Chamber figure their local businesses have already lost those dollars to the Grand Falls Casino in Larchwood?

  5. Bob Newland 2020-10-25

    Those who wanna bet should be able to bet legally.

  6. grudznick 2020-10-25

    Mr. H, the Sioux Falls Chamber takes its marching orders from the State Chamber, and then sends out their lobbists in tandem.

    Having the sports betting available, should they want it of course, at the Indian casinos would be a swell deal for those who want to legally bet on the Super Bowls and the Soccer games.

  7. leslie 2020-10-25

    An observation. Don’t understand covid? Ignore it. Don’t understand addiction? Ignore it. Denial — river in Egypt?

  8. leslie 2020-10-26

    Another: what trend do these so stories demonstrate?

    1.) https://dakotafreepress.com/2020/10/14/noem-refuses-to-talk-to-kelo-tv-about-pandemic-response-brands-kennecke-totally-unfair/

    2.)
    https://www.southdacola.com/blog/2020/10/sd-gops-iowan-leader-continues-to-spread-outrageous-lies-about-pat-starr/

    3.) The fight over Whitmer’s authority to issue orders, including those requiring Michiganders to wear masks and stay at home as much as possible at the height of the outbreak in spring, led to protests in Lansing and President Donald Trump issuing a post on Twitter at one pointing calling to “Liberate Michigan.” The state Supreme Court order came the same day Trump announced he had tested positive for coronavirus. Whitmer’s actions, meanwhile, have largely been supported by state residents, according to polls. http://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2020/10/02/michiga…e-court-rules-against-whitmer-emergency-powers/3596332001/

    4.) https://www.npr.org/2020/10/08/9216https://www.npr.org/2020/10/08/921655143/militia-members-plotted-to-abduct-michigan-gov-whitmer-fbi-says55143/militia-members-plotted-to-abduct-michigan-gov-whitmer-fbi-says

    5.). A [41 yr old Trump appointee] federal judge’s decision to invoke Lochner (!!!) [overruled 200 yrs ago] en route to declaring various Pennsylvania public health measures unconstitutional. (@36:00-55:00)
    https://www.nationalsecuritylawpodcast.com/episode-179-this-podcast-is-considerably-recalibrated/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=episode-179-this-podcast-is-considerably-recalibrated

    TREND: Republican lies leading to court packing!

  9. TAG 2020-10-26

    Thanks for this explainer, Cory. At least we now know there isn’t any obvious structural (wording) issues, political slight-of-hand, or dark money involved. A straightforward decision for voters.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-10-26

    Indeed, this amendment is easy to read. The intent is straightforward. Voters can have a good up-front discussion of the pros and cons of a relatively simple policy.

  11. Curt 2020-10-26

    Thanks much for linking to those photos from SDPB of the State Cross Country races held Saturday. Those athletes who competed that day will carry that memory – and maybe a touch of frostbite – with them for the remainder of their lives.

  12. leslie 2020-10-27

    Adding to this list is like the state adding revenue sources that kill its addict residents. Great business model.

    6.) No voting for Wisconsin either! Not for the flood of potential confused blue voters. Good job Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Roberts:

    10h
    Replying to
    @ZoeTillman
    There is so much to unpack in tonight’s SCOTUS order. Roberts explains why he voted to let Pennsylvania accept ballots after Nov. 3, but not Wisconsin. Kavanaugh cites Bush v. Gore. Kagan warns of mass disenfranchisement.

    7.) “President Trump and the GOP Senate have committed an act of supreme desperation by jamming through a Supreme Court justice – all so that they can achieve their years-long campaign to destroy Americans’ health care.

    An incompetent lying governor, president, SD GOP, assassination attempts by militias inspired by these “leaders”, during the emergency of this pandemic SPREADING infection, politicized incompetent judges, suppressing mailed ballots as the election proceeds, and a Senate ignoring the pandemic economy for an “eight day justice”!

    And a state legislature’s only action is to change the state constitution to permit sports gambling because everyone else does it.

    This is not responsible democratic governing.

    Now, Americans must continue to make their voices heard in the election. Congress will have to reverse the damage of a radical Republican court and defend pre-existing condition protections together with every other benefit and protection of the Affordable Care Act.“

    On this black day, ACB’s 1st day as a white female SCOTUS justice we must carefully begin as the general public of people of good conscience to observe the court’s subtle and overt actions as they effect our precious democracy.

    Austerity and originalism are Old White Men’s (and some of their women’s) GOP tricks to get power when they want it and deny power of the people. Racism has been the hallmark of the founding of this nation.

    Organized corruption threatens to destroy it all.

  13. leslie 2020-10-29

    Another: what trend do these stories demonstrate (besides an excuse to post unrelated photos of highschool track event or somesuch:) ?

    Blatant partisan government activity or ignorance of lawless, violent or anarchistic behavior (during a pandemic) by Republicans.

    1.) https://dakotafreepress.com/2020/10/14/noem-refuses-to-talk-to-kelo-tv-about-pandemic-response-brands-kennecke-totally-unfair/

    2.)
    https://www.southdacola.com/blog/2020/10/sd-gops-iowan-leader-continues-to-spread-outrageous-lies-about-pat-starr/

    3)-7) cont.

  14. leslie 2020-10-29

    3.) The fight over Whitmer’s authority to issue orders, including those requiring Michiganders to wear masks and stay at home as much as possible at the height of the outbreak in spring, led to protests in Lansing and President Donald Trump issuing a post on Twitter at one pointing calling to “Liberate Michigan.” The state Supreme Court order came the same day Trump announced he had tested positive for coronavirus. Whitmer’s actions, meanwhile, have largely been supported by state residents, according to polls. http://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2020/10/02/michiga…e-court-rules-against-whitmer-emergency-powers/3596332001/

    4.) https://www.npr.org/2020/10/08/9216https://www.npr.org/2020/10/08/921655143/militia-members-plotted-to-abduct-michigan-gov-whitmer-fbi-says55143/militia-members-plotted-to-abduct-michigan-gov-whitmer-fbi-says

    Cont.

  15. leslie 2020-10-29

    Incompetent political leadership attempts to bring bring in short term paltry revenue “fixes” like this against long term unknown problems like bankruptcy, addiction without rehabilitation, predatory lenders like Trump billionaire supporters, and its long term suppression of revenue, and a regressive tax, in effect, on those least capable of subsidizing economic inequality. Who benefits during this pandemic? Woodruff and Reiman, the Rally and Harley ownerships; Moyle Petroleum, owners of Common Cents Liquors; and Deadwood casinos who want sports betting during a pandemic. Like all Republicans, they do not care about the consequences. They just want your money and will kill you to get it during this pandemic.

    Cont. 5.). A [41 yr old Trump appointee] federal judge’s decision to invoke Lochner (!!!) [overruled 200 yrs ago] en route to declaring various Pennsylvania public health measures unconstitutional. (@36:00-55:00)
    https://www.nationalsecuritylawpodcast.com/episode-179-this-podcast-is-considerably-recalibrated/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=episode-179-this-podcast-is-considerably-recalibrated

    Noem consistently puts incompetent political hacks and nepotists in leadership positions, like Trump throughout his administration, like AG Barr throughout his DOJ, and like Thune/McConnell have eviscerated the federal courts of judicial competency and integrity
    as the GOP throughout the nation in state/local courts. Kochs and others have created over decades a economic law education curriculum that produced ideologues for our future judges. Cite to follow. #5 above clearly shows a recent outrageous example.

    We now have to undo all this partisan chicanery to save the democracy. Thanks skinny jeans Kristi, Silent John, “Common Sense” Mike and happy-go-Dusty.

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