Deadwood Anticipating New Games

With overall gaming revenue up nearly 5 percent for January-April 2015 compared to 2014, casinos in Deadwood, South Dakota are anticipating even better results once keno, craps and roulette make their July 1 debut. Dealers are attending special training to get set for the games.

Deadwood, South Dakota casinos are looking forward to an exceptional summer at following an overall revenue increase of nearly 5 percent for the first four months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014, according to state gaming commission figures. Slot play rose by 4.81 percent and table games by 7.96 percent on total revenues of 8,741,995. And as of July 1, gamblers will be able to play craps, roulette and keno; those games were approved by voters in a statewide referendum last November.

Deadwood Chamber Executive Director Lee Harstad said, “I would say these new games are a game-changer for Deadwood. Since gaming came to town in 1989, we’ve witnessed technological advances, particularly with slots. But adding roulette and craps will definitely make a big difference. There are groups of people who just love to play these live games, and that will bring some excitement back to Deadwood.”

For the past six weeks, 45 roulette students and 55 craps trainees who work at local gaming halls have been learning the games to prepare for the summer introduction. The instructors are Steve Kane and Dave Brogan who own the Denver-based Casino Dealers School of Colorado, which has trained more than 3,000 dealers over the past 24 years. Speaking of the Deadwood trainees, Brogan said, “These are experienced students who seem to have more knowledge than the lay person. They’re friendly, they’re professional and they know how a casino operates.” Kane noted once trainees passed state-mandated background checks, they would have to audition for dealer positions in roulette and craps. “Dealers are hired based on an audition. You don’t interview. What really matters is how you perform, and if you can deal the game,” he said.

Gaming Commission Executive Secretary Larry Eliason said the commission invested $27,000 for the training sessions, which also were partially sponsored by the Deadwood Gaming Association. DGA Executive Director Mike Rodman said, “Over time, the addition of roulette, craps and keno will change the image of Deadwood to being a full-fledged gaming destination. I think we’ll see some immediate enthusiasm about the new games, but more importantly, I think it will allow us to compete with surrounding jurisdictions that offer these games.”

Rodman said not every Deadwood casino would offer all three games. However, the Silverado-Franklin Historic Gaming Complex, Cadillac Jacks and Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort planned to offer roulette and craps, the Mineral Palace and Gold Dust will offer roulette and Tin Lizzie anticipated offering keno, Rodman said.