South Dakota Casinos and Gambling

South Dakota is one of the many US states with a rich history of gambling. The state has had limited legal casino and other forms of gambling since major changes to state law in the late 1980s designed to increase tourist traffic and revenue.

Though today’s gambling industry looks almost nothing like the glory days of Frontier Deadwood, South Dakota has managed to turn itself into something of a tourist haven, at least for gamblers living in nearby states without legal access to slots, blackjack, or video poker. A state lottery and some loose restrictions on Internet gambling mean that little old unlikely South Dakota is one of the most gambling-friendly American states.

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Gambling Options in South Dakota

Forty-five casinos are currently open in South Dakota. But don’t come to South Dakota expecting a fancy gambling experience. Sure, the state offers its share of nice resorts with attached casinos, but this isn’t a major tourist destination like Las Vegas or even Atlantic City.

I’ve broken up the list of South Dakota casinos into two lists – those in and around Deadwood, and casinos outside of the Deadwood area.

Deadwood Casinos

• Best Western Hickok House
• Buffalo Bodega Gaming Complex
• Bullock Hotel & Casino
• Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort
• Celebrity Hotel & Casino
• Comfort Inn at Gulches of Fun Casino
• Deadwood Dicks Saloon
• Deadwood Frontier Club
• Deadwood Gulch Gaming Resort
• Deadwood Gulch Saloon
• Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel & Casino
• Deadwood Station
• First Gold Hotel & Gaming
• Gold Country Inn
• Gold Dust Casino and Hotel
• Hickok’s Hotel and Gaming
• Iron Horse Inn
• Lucky 8 Casino and Super-8 Motel
• McKenna’s Gold
• Midnight Star Gaming Emporium
• Mineral Palace Hotel and Gaming
• Mustang Sally’s
• Old Style Saloon 10
• Oyster Bay Casino
• Silverado Franklin Historic Hotel and Gaming Complex
• The Lodge at Deadwood
• Tin Lizzie Casino & Restaurant
• Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort
• Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5969
• Wooden Nickel Casino

Other Casinos

• Royal River Casino & Hotel (Flandreau)
• Lode Star Casino & Hotel (Fort Thompson)
• Golden Buffalo Casino & Resort (Lower Brule)
• East Wind Casino (Martin)
• Turtle Creek Crossing Casino (Mission)
• Grand River Casino & Resort (Mobridge)
• Fort Randall Casino (Pickstown)
• Prairie Wind Casino & Hotel (Lakota Dome)
• Deano’s Casino (Rapid City)
• Toby’s Casino South (Rapid City)
• Borrowed Buck’s Roadhouse (Sioux Falls)
• Gregg’s Substation and Casino (Sioux Falls)
• Dakota Connection Casino (Sisseton)
• Rosebud Casino (Valentine)
• Dakota Sioux Casino (Watertown)

Rather than go into detail on every property in the state, I’ll go over some of the most important sites in the state.

The largest casino in South Dakota is the Royal River Casino & Hotel in Flandreau. The casino scene in South Dakota is nothing like the one in Vegas, so you may be surprised to hear that the state’s largest property is home to only 350 slot and video poker games and a dozen table games. Yes, South Dakota is home to a few dozen “casinos,” but they’re all pretty small. Tourism is not a huge industry in this state, so a lot of the casinos listed above are true locals’ joints.

The most popular casino in South Dakota is the Deadwood Gulch Gaming Resort. The casino is small, with just under 300 slot and video poker games and eleven gaming tables, but it’s the surroundings that propel it to the top. It’s hidden in the beautiful Black Hills, with two golf courses and plenty of outdoor adventure surrounding the top-rated resort complex in the state.

A typical South Dakota casino experience can be had at Toby’s Casino South in Rapid City. This spot isn’t located near any major tourist traps and is undoubtedly a bar and restaurant for locals attached to a small gaming floor made up of a few dozen slots and video poker terminals. No poker or live table games are dealt at Toby’s – though the website lists plenty of drink and food specials for every day of the week.

Are South Dakota Casinos Legal?

Here’s a quick breakdown on what’s legal and what isn’t legal in terms of gambling in South Dakota:

Casino gambling is legal – tribal and otherwise. The historic city of Deadwood is nothing much beyond a host for various casino operations. Casinos in South Dakota are only allowed to host slots, blackjack tables, live poker, and casino-style poker only.

Social poker and casino games – private games in the home or office – are explicitly illegal in South Dakota. Though live poker and casino-style poker (and poker tournaments) are legal at both tribal and commercial casinos in the state, home games are not. It doesn’t appear that the state enforces this law very often – I couldn’t find a single case in the last fifty years with a quick browse through a search engine.

South Dakota allows simulcast betting on horse and dog tracks as well as live betting at four different courses in the state. These live tracks seem to operate only part-time in the summer, as the state’s brief tourist season swells in July and August.

The state runs a lottery, including traditional lottery drawings and scratch cards.

Bingo games are also regulated at the state level and made available by both charity and commercial groups. Prizes are regulated, but less so than in other American states, with limits in the thousands rather than the tens of dollars.

More Facts about South Dakota Gaming Law

Here’s a fun wrinkle in South Dakota law – “those in the gambling business” are prohibited from placing bets on the Internet.

The reason this is a fun wrinkle? If you don’t work in the state’s gambling industry, you have what amounts to an express license to place any bets you want over the Internet.

Conclusion

Though restrictions are in place limiting the types of games available, you can find true casino gambling in South Dakota. You’ll also find charitable games, live poker, poker tournaments, lottery games, and a few other forms of gambling. If you absolutely must play craps or baccarat and you live in South Dakota, you’re allowed to play online so long as you don’t work in the state’s gambling industry. Overall, it’s a nice place to live if you’re a casino gambling fan.

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