The People of South Dakota granted through a Constitutional Amendment an extremely valuable and special privilege to Deadwood – the legalization of Casino Gambling.
I have detailed previously their continued insatiability for more privileges in my prior posting on Legal Shenanigans. I.e. higher limits, more games, loans for developers, and a railroad line. Now Lawrence County State Senator, Tom Nelson is planning to introduce a bill in the upcoming Legislative Session to exempt Deadwood Casinos, as I understand it at their option from the Statewide Smoking Ban.
Senator Nelson may have a conflict of interest. The Project Vote Smart website details him as the Owner Operator of Mineral Palace Hotel and Gaming. I understand (but would stand corrected) he also is an executive with the local casino promotion organization. Whether this conflict is important or not really is not for me to judge as the Senator is elected by voters who surely are aware of his Casino affiliation.
While the Deadwood interests want to blame their loss of revenues (and of consequence the (and I do not dispute this) the State’s loss of gambling tax revenues) on the smoking ban; it was debated both when the ban passed the Legislature and in the Statewide general election in 2010 that there could be a loss of revenues.
Well the people have spoken (by a 2 to 1 landslide margin) and said, ban smoking in public places – it’s unhealthy!
Sidebar – It may be lost over time but the reason we have Tribal gambling in South Dakota is because we allowed gaming to Deadwood.
While the Legislature is legally entitled to consider this legislation, they should kill it in committee and if necessary kill any attempt at (the in appropriately named) smoke out if attempted on the floor.
The People have spoken!