hile Deadwood casinos expect South Dakota voters to approve in November ballot the amendment that authorizes the Legislature to allow wagering on sporting events, the South Dakota Commission on Gaming would need to create new rules for cashless wagering to take place at Deadwood casinos, the commission’s executive secretary said Wednesday.
Susan Christian made her comments after a presentation Wednesday from two Mineral Palace Hotel and Gaming managers, Kelo reports. She had earlier exchanged letters with Mineral Palace owner Frank Gould of Aberdeen.
The casino’s gaming-floor manager Kurt Hall and hotel operations director Diana Prado said the Mineral Palace has the technology to accomplish cashless wagering. Hall explained that players would download money from their bank accounts, or provide cash to a casino cashier, and the amounts would be credited to players’ accounts held by the casino. People then would put their player cards into machines, and their accounts would reflect gains and losses from bets they had made. The goal is to reduce the times that cash is handled, according to Hall. “It would all be done electronically,” he said.
Prado said several other Deadwood casinos are interested. Executive secretary Christian said the practice raises questions about whether a participating casino was functioning as a bank. She said a cashless system is similar to the advance deposit wagering (AWD) that Bettor Racing offered in South Dakota before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2017.
Commission chairwoman Karen Wagner of Belle Fourche said Deadwood casinos seeking the change could petition the commission if they choose to pursue it. The Mineral Palace currently employs five cashiers and five would continue to be employed if the commission adopted regulations for the system, according to Hall. “You’re still going to have people who are going to carry in their own money and still need a cashier,” he said.
Commissioner Mike Wordeman of Rapid City said people would be likely to gamble more if they could access money from player accounts. He said that problem gamblers need a break and the availability of a credit card would be “concerning.”
Amendment B, which is on the statewide ballot in the Nov. 3 general election —absentee voting begins Sept. 18—, authorizes the Legislature to allow wagering on sporting events at Deadwood casinos. If approved, tribal casinos would also be allowed to offer sports wagering.
“We know that sports wagering is happening in South Dakota,” said Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association, as reported by The Capital Journal. “It’s happening illegally.”
Illegal bets are placed using bookies or websites. According to Rodman, players prefer a legal way to place their bets. That was evident, he said, when Grand Falls Casino in northwestern Iowa began offering sports betting. “People were going across the border to place their wagers,” Rodman said.