Help Stop SJR2

Family Heritage Alliance Action opposes Senate Joint Resolution 2.

While the prospect of a new untapped revenue stream for our state is attractive, it requires a Constitutional amendment to do so. Constitutional amendments should be proposed with extreme scrutiny beforehand.

We have already authorized both destination gambling and video lottery gambling and as a result South Dakota is regrettably already dependent on the revenue from those gambling sources. Now we are considering the further expansion of gambling should this proposed amendment be approved.

With each expansion of gambling comes a human price, as more will be attracted to the lure of winning but too many of them will fall victim to their addiction. And with each expansion of gambling, the State of South Dakota will become further addicted to the revenue realized.

While SJR 2 will only place the amendment on the ballot in 2020 and the expansion will be limited to Deadwood and Native American casinos, in short order gambling on literally thousands of events will be authorized.

There is also the danger that we are at the beginning of changing the entire paradigm of sports as well.

In the early days of Major League Baseball gambling became a problem. New York Giant’s stars Hal Chase and Heinie Zimmerman were both blacklisted for bribing teammates to throw games. And most famously, the White Sox “fixed” the 1919 World Series. In both cases, sports betting was the cause.

Back then, it took a couple of hundred dollars to bribe a ballplayer. These days we would struggle to imagine what it would take to convince a ballplayer making millions of dollars a year to throw a game. However, amateur athletes or college athletes could be bought more cheaply.

Finally, the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, did not speak to the legality of sports betting. It specifically ruled that one particular federal gambling statute, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, violated the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it illegally empowered the federal government to order certain states to take specific actions to disallow sports gambling. In fact, as noted in its ruling, if Congress were to pass a statute to directly ban sports gambling; such a bill would likely survive legal scrutiny.

If this SJR 2 is approved by the voters, is the state betting that the Federal Government will not ban it?

Not everyone wins when vices go mainstream.

Please help us to defeat SJR 2, email your Senator today!

Sports Betting – SJR2

Constitutional Sports Betting on the Ballot in 2020?

Yes, if a Senate Joint Resolution (SJR2) passes in both the South Dakota Senate and House in this Legislative Session.

You may remember that in 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court specifically ruled in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, that one particular federal gambling statute, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, violated the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution  because it illegally empowered the federal government to order certain states to disallow sports gambling.  It did not speak to the legality of sports betting, per se. In fact as noted in its ruling that if Congress was to pass a statute to directly ban sports gambling; such a bill would likely survive legal scrutiny. No such federal law exists.

In South Dakota, sports betting is currently prohibited by the Constitution so a Constitutional Amendment would be necessary to legalize it. The easiest way to get it on the ballot in 2020 is via joint resolution passed by both the Senate and House. With their votes in 2020 South Dakotans will decide if they wish to authorize an expansion of gambling in South Dakota.

SJR2 seeks to authorize sports betting only in Deadwood, but if authorized it would also be allowed in reservation casinos as well.

To be sure, illegal sports betting currently exists, but its access is somewhat limited. Because of its legality problem, it produces zero revenue for the state. The fact that a new revenue stream may be created by legalization will peak the interest of some. Initially those folks will minimize the likelihood of an increase in gambling addiction with its attendant costs to society because there is no reliable evidence to quantify it.  If SJR2 is approved by the voters, additional legislation will be required to regulate it and earmark expected revenue increases including how much revenue may be allocated for addiction counseling, etc.

South Dakota already has a gambling addiction in that in 2018 the South Dakota Lottery provided $124.7 million to the general fund.

But there is more than just the monetary factor to consider here. Sports betting has the very real potential to change the integrity of performance of athletes in the competitive sports world. Will the performance of players be affected by the point spread? (In 1919, the World Series was tainted by eight players that were corrupted by sports betting.) What do you think? Tell us in the comments below.

Email your Senator today!