- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota gambling regulators are seeking to strengthen a state law that allows cheaters or other disreputable players to be banned from Deadwood casinos.

The South Dakota Gaming Commission already has authority to ban players from entering casinos based on cheating or other misconduct, but such bans have been difficult to enforce because there is no penalty for banned players who re-enter casinos, commission Executive Director Larry Eliason said.

The commission is asking the Legislature to pass a bill making it a Class 1 misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine to enter a casino after being placed on the list of people excluded from casinos.

The law already allows the commission to exclude people convicted of felonies and those who would damage public trust in the gaming industry. The bill would add language allowing exclusion of someone who would damage “public confidence that gambling is conducted honestly.”

Six people are now on the exclusion list, but it’s been a while since anyone has been added because there’s no penalty for players who ignore it, Eliason said. People placed on the exclusion list can appeal and request a hearing with the commission.

“This would allow the casino to call the police and have the person arrested,” Eliason said. “It’s just to give the casino and the commission a tool to help police the industry.”

Mike Rodman, director of the Deadwood Gaming Association, said casino operators are supporting the commission’s proposal.

“It puts teeth in the exclusion list,” Rodman said.

Eliason said the commission has authority over casino owners and employees because they are licensed, but it needs some authority to enforce bans on players who do something jeopardizing the integrity of games.

The six on the current exclusion list include someone who stole keys to a casino’s slot machines and a person who stole money from another player. Another case involved someone who helped an underage player get into a poker tournament, Eliason said.


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