January Deadwood gambling revenue falls on year

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DEADWOOD, S.D. (AP) - The western South Dakota gambling town of Deadwood continues to struggle with a stagnant gambling market.

Gambling revenues in the city in January were down 3.8 percent from the same month last year, to about $7.5 million, according to data from the state Gaming Commission.

“We’ve had a tough winter and the cold hasn’t helped any,” Deadwood Gaming Association Director Mike Rodman told the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/1mEOlVf ). “The world is changing. What our customers expect is changing, and we need to be able to deliver that.”

Deadwood casinos are looking to the Legislature for ways to better compete with casinos in other states, particularly in nearby Colorado and Iowa.

One bill this session would allow South Dakota voters to decide whether Deadwood casinos should be able to offer roulette, keno and craps, to go with the slot machines, poker and blackjack they now offer. The proposed constitutional amendment has passed the House and is scheduled to get its first Senate hearing Wednesday.

Another proposed bill would allow casinos with hotel bars to sell liquor around the clock, rather than the current 19 hours a day. A third bill would increase Deadwood’s hotel tax to generate more money for marketing.

“All of the bills are part of our goal toward creating an integrated destination for Deadwood,” Rodman said. “They’re all part of being able to compete. They’re all designed to meet the needs that we’re hearing our customers ask for, what the convention sales people are suggesting that we do and also the group touring business. We have to compete.”

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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