Deadwood set to roll the dice with voters - KOTA Territory News

Deadwood set to roll the dice with voters

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by Jack Siebold, MyTown editor

The South Dakota Senate Wednesday afternoon gave the final legislative approval of a resolution allowing voters to decide if Deadwood can add three new games to its casinos.

House Joint Resolution 1001, adding roulette, craps and keno to games in Deadwood; passed on a 25-10 vote.  It now goes to Governor Dennis Daugaard.  If he signs the resolution voters will then make the ultimate decision.  Voters have the final say because the resolution involves changing the state's Constitution.

Supporters argue that when gambling first started in Deadwood, only two other states (Nevada and New Jersey) had casinos.  Now, with gambling in every state, Deadwood is no longer unique.  Adding games is one idea to draw new players to the Black Hills town.

That didn't sit well with Senator David Omdahl.  "If the gambling industry can't survive on the process they have now, maybe they ought to find a different occupation," he said.  "I personally know people and have friends who've had addiction problems with gambling.  We have to ask ourselves, ‘Just because it's legal, is it moral?'  And I say ‘No!'"

"We can argue about the expansion but gaming is here to stay, here to stay in many forms," Senator Chuck Jones countered.  Jones, who has managed Native American casinos in the past, explained that this effort is "simply an enhancement to have more games so we can compete with neighboring states."

Another legislative idea to help Deadwood regain an edge -- allowing hotel bars to stay open past the traditional closing time -- died on the Senate floor Tuesday.

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