DEADWOOD, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Commission on Gaming would need to write new rules for cashless wagering to occur at Deadwood casinos, the commission’s executive secretary said Wednesday.
Susan Christian made her comments after a presentation Wednesday from two Mineral Palace managers. She had earlier exchanged letters with Mineral Palace owner Frank Gould of Aberdeen (see pages 56-58 of the meeting packet).
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 the system: People 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.
Christian 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 Dennis McFarland of Sioux Falls wondered, “What’s the end game?” Replied Hall, “It’s more convenience to the user.” In the long run, a casino would make more money and the gaming commission would make more money from taxes on play, Hall said.
Commissioner Mike Wordeman of Rapid City said people would be likely to gamble more if they could access money from player accounts.
Wordeman founded Sodak Gaming decades ago. The company sold slot machines to tribal and Deadwood casinos; International Gaming Technology bought the company in 1999.
He said Wednesday that problem gamblers need a break and the availability of a credit card would be “concerning.”