Lawmakers in South Dakota have not waste any time putting together a plan that could add sports gambling to the State. Legislators tried again this past January after struggling with an attempt last year and their determination has paid off. Both the House and the Senate have passed a bill that will require state residents to determine whether or not sport wagers should be allowed to enter a ballot on this coming November’s election.
South Dakota finds itself in a unique situation that only a handful of states share. A change to the state constitution is needed for gambling expansion to occur, and this is only possible if residents of South Dakota agree to the referendum. This referendum is proposed by the Senate Joint Resolution 501 (SJR 501), and it earned its final approval as the House voted 36-27 yesterday to move it forward, according to Argus Leader.
If most people say yes to the initiative, then state legislators must decide how to proceed with the industry’s required rules and regulations. The likelihood is, proponents are now putting together their suggested framework so they can hit the ground running and try to get the local market up and running ahead of next year’s Super Bowl should sports gambling be given the green light. With just a few months between this November and the NFL championship game, which always attracts a lot of bets, there’s not going to be a lot of time to get things right.
Lawmakers who support the bill know that the state is losing money which it can never recover. Since Iowa legalised the practise last year, the neighbour to the south of South Dakota welcomes bettors with open arms and is more than willing to reap the financial rewards. Sportsbooks took a total of $270.3 million in about six months after the operation was first implemented, according to a recent report by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
Opponents like State Representative John Mills continue to fail to face reality. Gamblers are gambling-period. They’ll find a way to position their bets illegally or lawfully. At the very least, legalising the practise would allow the state to recover the tax revenue it is currently losing and, if Mills is worried about protecting citizens from gambling problems, he can lobby for part of the proceeds to be used for gambling addiction services, as has been seen in every other state so far.
Realistically speaking, the bill should not have been opposed by any lawmaker since SJR 501 legalises no activity. This raises the question of whether or not the public wants to play sports so that the people can determine. Appointed as representatives of the people, it is illogical that any legislature should try to prevent constituents from being able to weigh in on a subject that they are entrusted with determining on the basis of the Constitution of South Dakota.