South Dakota Senate Schedules Port Yankton Casino Project for Debate Next Week

Yesterday, South Dakota Senate voted 20-11 to schedule a debate on the proposed measure for the Yankton casino for the upcoming week. At the debate, the State Senate is to once again take into consideration the measure under which the casino complex project for a city in the southeastern part of the state is set to be put to a vote.

Under the proposed constitutional amendment, local voters would be asked whether or not a non-profit group should be provided one gambling license in Yankton.

The Yankton-based Convention and Visitor’s Bureau director, Kasi Haberman, has recently explained to a Senate committee that the project for the so-called Port Yankton casino has been unveiled as part of the areas efforts to bring tourists back both to the state and the city. However, the plans for the casino venue have become subject to collision.

The thing is that Native American tribes in South Dakota and Nebraska raised voices against the project. Jason Cooke, Vice Chairman of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, explained that his tribe’s casino employs local people and makes regular contributions to various community programs and added that the construction of Port Yankton casino would have a detrimental impact to his tribe.

Port Yankton Casino Set to Bring Additional Revenue to City and State

The proposed measure, SJR 5, would provide South Dakota voters with the right to decide at the time when the 2020 general election is held whether to permit Deadwood-style gambling at one non-profit location in Yankton.

The measure would allow the proposed location to offer card games, craps, roulette, slot machines and keno, similar to the ones offered at tribal casinos and Deadwood. According to the wording of the proposal, after expenses, two-thirds of the revenue is supposed to be spent for assisting veterans and the remaining one-third must be redirected to economic development and historic restoration projects in Yankton.

In February 2018, the South Dakota Senate dismissed a resolution, which would have added the casino expansion on the November 2018. State Senators voted 23-12 against the proposed measure, despite the supporters of the Port Yankton Project have claimed that a casino venue could be beneficial not only to the area but also to the state, as it could bring additional revenue to state coffers.

Despite the fact that the campaigners from the Yankton Area Progressive Growth group have put their hopes into a possible addition to the measure to the 2018 statewide ballot. However, South Dakota lawmakers did not pass the measure, as a legislative committee thumbed it down.

Sports Betting Measure Proceeds to South Dakota House

The State Senate also passed a measure that would allow local voters to decide upon the fate of sports betting in Deadwood. The measure is to now proceed to the House, after 18-14 votes in favor.

Republican Senator Bob Ewing, who is the sponsor of the proposed bill, reminded that sports betting has been illegally available in the state for quite some time now. He called South Dakota legislators to change that and make this type of gambling legal.

The move comes after the US Supreme Court’s decision to lift the federal ban on sports betting services and let every US state individually decide whether or not to add it to its gambling market. Now, the proposed constitutional amendment seeks to see South Dakota’s legislature to give the green light to sports betting at Deadwood and tribal casinos.