DEADWOOD, South Dakota — A bill to implement the three new voter-authorized games in Deadwood casinos will move forward, the South Dakota Commission on Gaming decided Thursday.
The commission voted to draft the legislation allowing craps, keno and roulette with the goal of the regulations and games being in place by July 1.
Passage of Amendment Q on Nov. 4 gave the Legislature authorization to expand the types of games offered in the historic Black Hills mining town beyond slot machines, poker and blackjack.
Commissioner Ralph Kemnitz said the committee will propose legislation "that carries out the public mandate."
Backers of the measure said it was aimed to help struggling casinos compete with surrounding out-of-state hotspots such as Colorado and Iowa. The new games are part of a larger, multiyear effort to rejuvenate the town, which relies on historical tourism and gambling to attract visitors.
Opponents view the additional games as an expansion of gambling that carries significant social costs.
Deadwood Gaming Association executive director Mike Rodman says he doesn't believe the new regulations will hit the same speed bumps they did 25 years ago when gambling was initially authorized in Deadwood — making it the third jurisdiction in the country to do so.
There could be some legislative opposition to authorizing the voter-backed expansion, Rodman said, but added he's confident the "overwhelming support of the voters" will ensure it prevails.
John Dennis, a spokesman for opposition group Family Heritage Alliance Action, said his organization is considering a push at the Capitol to block the measure, an action which must be voted on by the organization's board.
Rep. Steve Hickey, R-Sioux Falls, opposed Amendment Q because he views gambling as toxic to the state. But he doubts any lawmakers will stand in the legislation's way.
"I can't imagine," Hickey said. "That's political suicide, isn't it? Voters speak clearly on something and you turn around and change it? That's bad."