- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota gambling oversight commission accepted several new rules and changes to existing mandates Wednesday, including policies to allow two new games in casinos: War Blackjack and Dead Man’s Hand.

The three of the five members of the state’s Commission on Gaming who were present at the public hearing also set policies on use of electronic devices at tables. About a dozen representatives from Deadwood casinos and the gambling industry were there as well.

Commissioners watched demonstrations of the two new games.

Tony Sieber, general manager at the Four Aces Casino in Deadwood, requested the rule change for War Blackjack. The game, which was previewed in Las Vegas last fall, is a combination of the two games in its name. Dead Man’s Hand, another variation on blackjack, was requested by Silverado/Franklin Gaming controller Tim Burke.

The commission has also adopted a policy prohibiting the use of devices for communication at the table. Commissioners debated whether people should be able to listen to music while playing, and industry representatives agreed that many of their customers like to do so.

“I’m wondering if we’re not already one step behind the world of cheaters,” said Vice Chairman Dennis Duncan, who initially wanted to ban all electronic devices at the tables in casinos.

He eventually supported a policy that would allow players to listen to music on their cellphones. Commissioner Karen Crew said they could change the rule if it people started to abuse it.

“At this point, if we have not had an issue with them, why we would need to prohibit them?” she asked.

Commissioners also adopted rules to support a new state law effective July 1 that makes entering a casino while banned and on an exclusion list a misdemeanor. The new penalty will be equivalent to what’s imposed for underage gambling. There was previously no penalty for people on the list who violated it.

The policies must be presented to the Legislature’s Rules Review committee and then could be filed with the Secretary of State’s office as early as July.

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