South Dakota has several legal venues for gambling within their state, but the state does not condone gambling other than the gambling that has been deemed legal. This is one of the few states that actually has legislation that deems online gambling illegal within the state. They are afraid that it would take away from their land based casinos.
Can Players From South Dakota Play Poker Online?
The simple answer to this question is yes. All US poker sites accept players from South Dakota. So, you still have a variety of poker sites to choose from if you decide to play real money poker online.
Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in South Dakota?
South Dakota pretty much considers any gambling that isn’t deemed legal in their state to be illegal. This is one of the few states that have actually added legislation to their laws regarding online gambling. As far as we can tell, it is considered a misdemeanor to illegally gamble in the state of South Dakota.
We have an overview of some of the laws pertaining to gambling in South Dakota below:
- South Dakota defines gambling as
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, or who keeps any establishment, place, equipment, or apparatus for such gambling or any agents or employees for such purpose, or any person who knowingly lets any establishment, structure, place, equipment, or apparatus for such gambling(Section 22-25-1)
- The definition further states that any person committing this crime is guilty of a misdemeanor.
- Legislation has been added to address playing poker online that states
Internet betting by person engaged in gambling business prohibited.No person engaged in a gambling business may use the internet or an interactive computer service to bet or wager.(Section 22-25-A-7)
- In most states you can make an argument that poker is a game of skill and not explicitly gambling, but South Dakota has made it clear that they consider gambling
wherein anything valuable is wagered upon the outcomeso the argument does not apply in this state. 
- We have not found any instances where a person was charged for gambling online in the state of South Dakota.
- Home poker games are not allowed under the South Dakota laws.
We encourage you to research the laws for yourself and contact a professional in the state of South Dakota if you are concerned about the laws pertaining to online poker. This is just our lay person understanding of the laws. We are in no way professionals on this issue.
South Dakota Gambling History
Gambling has been a popular pastime in South Dakota since the 19th century. The gold rush of 1876 brought many people to the state of South Dakota. Along with the people came the thrill of gambling. Deadwood, South Dakota had plenty of gold and plenty of saloons. Poker and other gambling were common in saloons at that time.
One of the most noted stories of the history of gambling in South Dakota is the story of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. They arrived in Deadwood, SD in 1876. They were legends around the United States for their excellent gun fighting skills. Wild Bill Hickok was an avid poker player, but he usually chose a seat against the wall so that he could see everyone that came in. On August 2, 1876, Hickok joined a table that was already almost full, and there were no seats close to the wall. Jack McCall took this opportunity to shoot Hickok in the back of the head. When Hickok was shot his cards fell from his hand and was holding 2 Aces, 2 eights, and another card. This is how Aces and Eights earned the name dead man’s hand. 
Gambling continued to thrive in South Dakota till the 1950s when law enforcement took a stand and shut the illegal gambling organizations down. The state did not have any legal forms of gambling for many years after that. In 1986, the voters approved a state lottery. The voters further increased the gambling opportunities in South Dakota by approving casinos in 1989. 
Legalized Gambling Options in South Dakota
South Dakota has a variety of options when it comes to gambling. The lottery is available statewide. If you like casino games then you will find commercial casinos in Deadwood, and there are also Tribal Casinos around the state. You can also wager on horse races and dog races live or through simulcast.
Home poker games are not permitted. In order to legally gamble in South Dakota you must stick strictly to the approved gambling options.
Will South Dakota Legalize Online Poker in the Future?
The casinos in South Dakota do not want legalized online gambling of any kind at the time. They fear that it will take away from the money they are taking in. New Jersey only allows online casinos and poker rooms for casinos that have a land based casino in the state. Maybe this will be an option for South Dakota sometime in the future, but at this point it doesn’t seem likely that South Dakota will legalize any online gaming in the near future.