DEADWOOD, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Gaming Commission is going ahead with new rules intended to strongly discourage underage people from gambling in Deadwood casinos.

The commission on Tuesday adopted the tougher regulations. They include requiring a casino to have an employee whose primary duty is monitoring all gaming areas, submitting floor plans that show non-gaming areas, and requiring people younger than 21 to proceed directly through gaming areas without stopping.

Doug Abraham, the commission’s attorney, said the new rules would allow each licensee to have an individualized monitoring plan and set specific non-gaming areas. “We think it will develop certainty and develop expectations within each property,” Abraham said.

Speaking in favor was Mike Rodman, the Deadwood Gaming Association’s executive director. He said the rules package had been worked on “many months” with the commission.

“I think this is a win-win for large and small properties,” Rodman said, because they can develop their individual approaches. The employee required to be in charge of monitoring can have other duties but must be responsible for control of the gaming floor, he said.

A cross-section of casino officials presented what’s happened at their properties in the past year since the commissioners and state staff began discussing the need for stronger enforcement.

One of the largest, Deadwood Mountain Grand, last year hired Bill Ashton as compliance officer, in part because of his 29 years in law enforcement. Ashton told the commission there are signs throughout the complex and an emphasis on no underage gambling, including several ID readers, a $50 reward for catching a fake ID, using wristbands rather than handstamps, and hiring seven to 10 more people to work security on concert nights when as many as 3,000 people attend.

“We’re taking it seriously,” Ashton said. Some people have turned around and left rather than go through the ID scanners. “You can tell Deadwood as a whole has changed.”

Tony Sieber, general manager at Gold Dust Casino, said in the past the Gold Dust despite its 10 points of entry had only a few signs, but every slot machine did have a sticker that said people under 21 couldn’t play. According to Sieber, more than 30 signs have been added since June and some non-gaming areas have been designated where young people can be.

The Gold Dust held a staff-wide meeting in August to emphasize the underage ban — “We haven’t had pushback from employees,” he said — and starting in December more security was added for Friday and Saturday nights. Since June, no underage gambler has been found at Gold Dust, according to Sieber. “I think we’re doing a pretty adequate job at that,” he said. “On our property, we feel we’re doing this right.”

Casino manager Cory Heintz from Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort said signs on every slot machine have helped, as has the addition of floor walkers and, since January, logging of their interaction with people in the gaming areas. Heintz said those logs show 3,279 people were carded and stamped in the first two months.

Other steps taken include a fake-ID program, as well as the addition of floor walkers and signs throughout the property, and a trial run of some detection technology will start in April. “They’ve had a very positive effect,” Heintz said.

Several others spoke, and the commission received a letter from Mike Trucano, who operated his family’s casino-servicing business in Deadwood for decades. Trucano noted the need to accommodate small places too such as the Deadwood VFW post, which has 16 machines that are within direct view of the bartender.

The next step calls for the regulations to be presented to the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee for clearance at the April 11 meeting.

The commission’s executive secretary, Susan Christian, thanked the Deadwood gaming industry for working with the regulators on a flexible approach and for taking the issue seriously. “You have all come together uniformly and you are all doing basically the same things,” she said. “You know where you stand, and we know what you’re doing.”

She added, “Good job.”