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Bill would make Deadwood hotel bars open 24 hours

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PIERRE — Two legislators who aren’t from Lawrence County want to give Deadwood hotels an extra edge to attract gamblers.

They’re proposing Deadwood hotels can have their bars open round the clock every day except Christmas.

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Rep. Tim Rounds, RPierre, is prime sponsor of the measure, HB 1123. Rounds said Deadwood faces increasing competition from casinos in other states and from tribal casinos.

“Deadwood’s numbers are down. This is, for me, a discussion. Will it go far? I don’t know,” he said. “It’s permissive. They don’t have to do it.”

None of Lawrence County’s three legislators — Rep. Tim Johns, R-Lead; Rep. Fred Romkema, RSpearfish; or Sen. Bob Ewing, R-Spearfish — is a co-sponsor of the Rounds bill.

Johns is Rounds’ seatmate. Johns is sponsoring a resolution that would let voters statewide decide whether to expand Deadwood gambling to include craps, keno and roulette. Currently, slot machines and card games are authorized.

The lead Senate sponsor of the Rounds’ bill is Sen. Mark Kirkeby, R-Rapid City. “It’s unique,” he said.

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Bob Mercer
Bob Mercer reports from the South Dakota Capitol in Pierre for The Daily Republic and other newspapers around the state.
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