South Dakota Gambling

FAQ / Q&A -- History -- Regulation -- Land Based Casinos -- Fun Facts


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South Dakota Online Casinos


Regulation and legality of online gambling

Online gambling is neither legal nor illegal in South Dakota. This strange situation is simply the result of an absence of legislation pertaining to casino sites. Albeit peculiar, this sort of ‘loophole’ is pretty common across the US. Lawmakers have too many matters on their hands, which makes it hard to stay up to date with developments across multiple industries.

However, don’t take the presence of this legal grey area as a sign that things are murky in all sectors of the gaming industry. Believe it or not, SD has always had a reputation for being a gaming-friendly state. Before laws were drawn up to regulate gaming, the Mount Rushmore State became known as a hotspot of sorts, mainly due to the overwhelming number of illegal or semi-legal establishments.

While clandestine activities have since subsided, legitimate casinos have been booming in the last 10 or so years. Currently, South Dakota has a total of 33 casinos, 22 of which are commercial, and 11 of which are located on tribal land. Given the fact that SD is inhabited by approx. 885,000, there is a casino per every ~26,000 people. For such a small state, this is, by all means, an astonishing number.

Surprisingly, you cannot play video poker, roulette, craps, bingo, or keno in any venue. Blackjack, slots, live poker, and poker variations are all okay. Strange, but even with these restrictions - South Dakota is above average when it comes to progressiveness towards gambling.

In addition to brick and mortar casinos, there are also 1,300+ locations that house VGTs (video gaming terminals). Somehow, this still hasn’t led to a full-fledged legalization movement. As of September 2020, online gambling still exists in a legal grey area. And that’s great news.

You see, the lack of legislation and regulation is not a bad thing. While there are no casino sites based in South Dakota, you can still play at offshore casinos that allow Dakotans to create an account. Many blogs and websites will claim that trusting your money to an offshore site is like ‘begging to be scammed’.

Such an outlook is extremely outdated. Other countries have strict regulatory bodies and online casinos that operate under their jurisdiction can only operate if they abide by the rules. The best way to stay safe is to inform yourself about the reputation and the track record of a certain organization. If they are the real deal, casinos holding their license are most likely legitimate.

Any potential online casino sites of the future won’t have any support from commercial casinos, beyond doubt. While specific politicians offer encouraging comments, internet gaming has no serious support from them. The fact that not one of the neighboring states has legalized online gambling activities does not help either. In the case of South Dakota, the scales keep tipping towards postponing the legalization of online gambling, and it could be years before any future legislative steps are taken.



Gambling history in South Dakota

The gambling scene in early South Dakota centers on the town of Deadwood. Colonel George Armstrong Custer's expedition discovered gold in the Black Hills in 1874 which triggered the Black Hills Gold Rush. Suddenly, Deadwood was conceived as a prospecting town and an entertainment center during this period. Deadwood was home to opium dens, brothels and smoke-filled saloons. One of the colorful characters found in Deadwood at the time was "Wild Bill" Hickok, who was shot dead during a poker game. In recent history, Deadwood was reborn as a gambling-themed tourist destination. New, modern casinos started appearing in the late 80s.

At this point, Deadwood was heading towards becoming a ghost town. Luckily, the former mining town was saved by a statewide constitutional amendment that allowed casino gambling, both on reservations and non-tribal land. Before that, in the 50s and 60s, the state battled illegal gambling and approved the lottery.

Video lottery terminals were introduced into the scene in 1989. Once approved by the state legislature, they were installed in bars and gas stations throughout the Mount Rushmore State. There were several attempts to outlaw video lottery machines since then, but voters would always reject them. Deadwood's commercial gambling industry is a priority for South Dakota, and although some interest was expressed in exploring online gaming, state’s legislators aren't anywhere close to changing the generally unfavorable view towards iGaming.


Land based casinos

The Mount Rushmore State benefits from both tribal and commercial gambling venues, also bars and clubs with slots and poker tournaments and dozens of racetracks and off-track betting sites. If we use the term ‘casino’ as loosely as most South Dakotans, then we can say that there are around 1,400 casinos in the state. If we discard video lottery establishments with a max number of 10 games on their premises, then it’s safe to say that there are over a dozen major casino venues in SD.

Betting on greyhounds and horses started in the early 40s, but dog racing is no longer available. Those who want to bet on the horses can do it at two operational racetrack facilities - the Stanley County Fairgrounds in Ft. Pierre and the Brown County Fairgrounds in Aberdeen. July and August count as tourist season for the race enthusiasts, and the tracks only operate full-time in the summer.

As expected, the South Dakota gambling hotspot is Deadwood. After the mining bust, the town faced a huge decline and the casino industry saved it and its historic legacy. When the first casinos opened their doors in the old mining town, players were able to enjoy slots, video poker, card games and live poker. Back then, the bet limit was $5. In 2000, it was raised to $100. Prosperity came back into Deadwood, and bet limits were increased again in 2012, to $1,000. Some of the notable Deadwood casinos are Gold Dust Casino & Hotel, Hickok’s Hotel and Gaming, First Gold Hotel & Gaming and Mineral Palace Hotel and Gaming. These venues offer from 100 to over 200 slots and a variety of video poker, video table games, live poker and blackjack games. You can also play Four Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Three Card Poker, craps, roulette and keno at most Deadwood locations.

Tribal casinos are more remote. There are located in Flandreau, Mission, Sisseton, Watertown, Mobridge, Lower Brule, Martin, Pine Ridge, and Pickstown, offering mostly slots and video poker, with a few exceptions of poker rooms. Dakota Sioux Casino in Watertown is the biggest with over 450 slots, blackjack and poker options, and a generous Players Club.

Neighbouring States: Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming



At what age is it legal to play at South Dakota online casinos?

Since there are no laws regulating online gambling in South Dakota, we advise you to abide by the threshold imposed for land-based casinos - 21. Just because law enforcement doesn’t strive to apprehend anyone playing at offshore sites, that doesn’t mean underage gambling will be tolerated.

Pretty much every state has the same limit for online and land-based casinos, so you can rest assured that you won’t get in any sort of trouble.

Which games can you find at SD casino sites?

Due to the lack of in-state sites, the choice of games is, technically, infinitely vide. Thousands of sites are more than happy to allow players from ‘grey area’ states to play, so you just need to take a look around. Popular titles will appear at every casino site, but there are also tons of casinos that focus on niche or vintage titles.

Does this mean you can play like dealer titles, too?

Of course! Since you can’t play virtual poker nor roulette at SD casinos, live casino variants of these games are incredibly popular. Aside from basic versions, some software developers have also come up with wacky, experimental versions. These are known to include lucrative bonuses, bonus rolls, and much more.

What about payment methods? How can you fund your account at South Dakota online casinos?

Most offshore sites available in South Dakota collaborate with the same payment platforms as many US-based casinos do. This means that you can most certainly expect to see credit/debit card options everywhere. Everyone has a card, so it’s not hard to see why they’re so popular for playing casino games online. Despite the convenience involved with using them, security issues still exist.

Cryptocurrencies and eWallets take the cake when it comes to speed and security, but certain players deem them too complex to use. Fortunately, this is changing. Other methods in use are eChecks and wire transfers, but they’re slowly fading away.

How fast do casino sites in SD pay withdrawals? What factors affect the waiting time?

They usually pay you right away, unless a particular casino has an identity verification policy. This involves scanning one of your personal documents and waiting for 1-2 days until they determine you’re a real person. Other than that, the waiting time depends on the platform you’re using to receive withdrawals. Here’s what to expect from the most popular payment methods in South Dakota:

● Cards: 3-5 days

● Cryptos: 15 mins - an hour

● eCheck: 5-7 days

● Wire transfers: 4-6 days

● eWallets: Instant

Fun Facts about South Dakota

  • The most famous South Dakota landmark is Mount Rushmore National Memorial featuring the faces of four U.S. presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. It receives more than 2 million visitors per year. However, its popularity may be jeopardized by the yet-unfinished mountain sculpture of Lakota warrior Chief Crazy Horse. The sculpture has been in the works since 1948 and should be 563 feet high and 641 feet long once finished.
  • The Revenant (2015), a praised film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, a real-life 19th-century frontiersman is set in South Dakota wilderness.
  • Every year, in Clark, the South Dakota Potato Day is celebrated, complete with mashed potato wrestling, potato decorating and potato chip and dip judging events.

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