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South Dakota's Commission on Gaming has fined the Four Aces Casino $25,000 and handed down a 15-day suspension of their gaming license, saying the casino has repeatedly failed to provide accurate, complete and legible revenue reports, dating to 2008. The license suspension takes effect Monday. (AP Photo/Butte County Post, Milo Dailey)

Deadwood casino to appeal unprecedented punishment

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DEADWOOD (AP) — Owners of the Four Aces Casino in Deadwood say they plan to appeal to circuit court an unprecedented $25,000 fine and a 15-day suspension of the business's gambling license.

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South Dakota's Commission on Gaming says the casino has repeatedly failed to provide accurate, complete and legible revenue reports, dating to 2008. The license suspension takes effect Monday.

Commission Executive Secretary Larry Eliason has said it is the largest penalty he can remember in his nearly two decades with the commission.

Casino General Manager Tony Sieber told the Rapid City Journal that the penalties are "exceptionally harsh" and could threaten as many as 100 jobs as Christmas nears.

"Deadwood doesn't need that and our employees definitely don't deserve that," he said. "They work through blizzards, they cover for each other and they don't deserve that. I was taken off-guard by the decision. To shut down a business in the dead of winter when we're all just scraping to get by — that piece is just puzzling."

Sieber said the nearly two-week shutdown also would deprive the state of tax revenue.

The casino is owned by Aberdeen-based Platinum Ventures LLC, and the company plans to file its appeal in Brown County — not in Lawrence County, where the casino operates. Eliason said he is ready to defend the commission's decision.

"I've cleared my calendar and gassed up my car for a road trip," he said.

While the state gambling commission has had to handle appeals of its rulings on buildings housing casinos, a Four Aces appeal would be the first instance in which a disciplinary action of the agency had been contested in court, according to Eliason.

The Four Aces has 275 gambling devices and a large restaurant. The neighboring Hampton Inn, which is owned by the same partners under a separate limited liability corporation, has 59 rooms, Sieber said.

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