Deadwood officials say flat gambling numbers could be sign that customers want more offerings

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DEADWOOD, South Dakota — Industry representatives say gambling revenues in the South Dakota tourist town of Deadwood were down in September and it could be more evidence that customers want expanded offerings.

The state's voters will decide Nov. 4 on a constitutional amendment that would allow Deadwood gambling halls to add roulette, keno and craps. The change would also apply to tribal casinos in the state.

Deadwood Gaming Association executive director Mike Rodman says the South Dakota casinos are being hurt by surrounding states that have a wider variety of gambling options.

"As these gaming options continue to rise in popularity, visitors continue to request them in Deadwood," Rodman said. "We look forward to being able to offer our customers the gaming variety they are asking for."

Gambling revenues in Deadwood declined 3.19 percent in September compared to the same month a year ago, including a 4.15 drop in slot machine earnings. The number of hotel rooms sold was down by 72 from September 2013, the Rapid City Journal reported (http://bitly.com/1uUyEYp ).

Rodman said he is disappointed by "these relatively flat numbers," but noted that table game business went up by more than 7 percent.

"Deadwood is forging ahead with plans for its future," he said.

Opponents of the amendment are worried it will strengthen gambling addictions and lead to more crime. Rep. Steve Hickey, a Sioux Falls Republican who voted against putting the measure on the ballot, has said this is the "wrong way to jumpstart Deadwood."


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

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