South Dakota Gambling Laws - Legal Poker in South Dakota

Legal Poker Sites in South Dakota
Is Gambling Legal in South Dakota?

Four of America's most famous faces stare down at you from the towering peaks of South Dakota's Mount Rushmore. It's fun to stare up and wonder what each would have thought about modern developments like the Internet, and to ponder what position these titans of history would have taken on the issue of online poker. The rest of South Dakota has certainly voted, with thousands from the state logging on to Internet poker sites every month, and thousands more visiting pages like ours to find out How to Play Online Poker From South Dakota.

Online Poker in South Dakota

Picking the Top Online Poker Sites for South Dakotans

We employ a very simple formula to create our list of recommended online poker rooms for South Dakota players. Valid, legal license to operate plus high-value rewards programs plus simple and fast banking equals an ideal room for a new online poker player. We followed that formula to the letter when putting together this list of poker sites accepting South Dakota players.

Can Poker Players From South Dakota Play Poker Online?

Anyone can play poker online, so what most people generally mean when they ask this question is whether or not it's possible to play real-money games of poker from South Dakota. Good news: all of the US-facing poker sites you'll find online accept players from South Dakota.  The next question we hear quite often involves how you deposit at and withdraw from online poker rooms.  While each poker site has different options, the most popular choices for poker transactions among South Dakota poker players are credit cards, cash transfer and check.

Is It Legal to Play Online Poker in South Dakota?

That's a tougher question to answer than most people think.  Gambling law in the U.S. at the state level is notoriously obtuse, so clear answers are often in short supply.

What all online poker players should shoot for at a minimum is a grasp on the fundamentals of South Dakota gambling law.  Below we've assembled the key aspects of the law and broken them down in simple terms. 

  • The first problematic aspect of South Dakota gambling law is that the state has a tautologically-tinged definition of what it means to gamble. From "Gambling defined, "Section 22-25-1: "Any person who engages in gambling in any form with cards, dice, or other implements or devices of any kind wherein anything valuable is wagered upon the outcome [...] is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor." As you've no doubt noted, that doesn't really define gambling so much as just repeat the term.
  • The remainder of the definition isn't any help - it simply addresses those who "keep establishments" for gambling or lets their establishment be used for gambling.
  • Section 22-25-1 also contains the sole charge for players engaged in illegal gambling (to the best of our understanding) - a misdemeanor.
  • South Dakota is one of the few states in America that has passed laws specifically built to address online gambling. The law (Chapter 22-25A) aims at operators, not players, and prescribes felony charges for those who accept bets that begin or terminate in South Dakota or establish internet gaming businesses in the state.
  • To date (again, to the best of our understanding), there have been no criminal charges pursued under South Dakota's Internet gambling laws.
  • South Dakota gambling law does not contain any provision allowing social or private gambling.

Now that you're done with our list, move on to reviewing the full text of South Dakota gambling law [1] for yourself.

Will South Dakota Regulate Online Poker?

Despite the significant presence of land-based gambling in South Dakota, there has been remarkably little talk about moving poker, casinos or any other form of gambling online.  South Dakota would be a minor poker market, so that could explain the lack of interest.  It could also be that the state's disparate gambling industry has been unable to get on the same page when it comes to online gambling.  Whatever the reason, the conclusion remains the same: Regulated online poker isn't likely to ride into South Dakota at any point in the near future.

South Dakota Gambling Facts

Regulated Gambling Options in South Dakota

There's quite a good bit of regulated gambling in South Dakota, especially when you consider the relatively sparse full-time population of the state.  Just like the majority of American states, South Dakota has a state lottery.  In addition to the various games of chances available via the lottery, you can choose from hundreds - if not thousands - of unique games at the state's various commercial and tribal gambling facilities.  The regulated gambling menu in South Dakota is rounded out by pari-mutuel bets on live racing and charitable gaming (lottos and bingo).

Social gambling is not explicitly exempt from the gambling laws of South Dakota.  Authorities may not prioritize pursuit of such activity, but it remains against the letter of South Dakota law.

Does South Dakota Offer any Regulated Online Gambling?

The state of South Dakota doesn't regulate or license any online gambling activity.

South Dakota Gambling Resources

CGR: South Dakota [2]. Get an immediate and thorough overview of South Dakota's gambling industry with this capsule report from the UNLV Center for Gaming Research.

South Dakota Commission on Gaming [3]. Regulator for most of the state's gambling activity, the SDCG homepage contains complete licensee information, links to forms, statutes and applications and a variety of statistics related to regulated gambling in South Dakota.

South Dakota Lottery [4]. Online home for the South Dakota lottery hosts current jackpot and winners information, the laws and regulations regarding the state lottery and resources covering its development and history.

South Dakota's Contributions to Poker History

If you do a bit of digging on the connection between South Dakota and poker, one name keeps coming up again and again: Deadwood. It's that not-so-sleepy frontier town that provided the backdrop for such mythic gamblers as "Poker" Alice Ivers and - of course - the legendary Wild Bill Hickok, who is said to have been shot dead in a Deadwood tavern during a poker game while holding a pair of aces and a pair of eights.

The games in modern Deadwood are probably not quite as lively as in the days of yore, but the town continues to play an outsized role when it comes to gambling in South Dakota, providing more modern gamblers with a backdrop for their leisure that still strongly echoes those bygone times.

Sources & Citations For This Article on South Dakota Online Poker