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Deadwood won't have 24-hour alcohol service

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PIERRE — Deadwood hotels that have casinos will not be allowed to serve alcohol anytime.

The state Senate rejected the proposed change Tuesday, voting 20-15 against it.

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The final four senators in the alphabetical roll call -- Bill Van Gerpen, R-Tyndall; Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell; Chuck Welke, D-Warner; and Jim White, R-Huron -- all cast nays.

The legislation had won approval from the House of Representatives 36-33 last month.

Deadwood's hotels with casinos would have been the only businesses to receive the special privilege. Standard closing time for bars throughout South Dakota is 2 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Sen. Mark Kirkeby, R-Rapid City, said the entire Black Hills economy would benefit from the change for Deadwood in HB 1123.

Businesses would have needed to have at least 10 lodging rooms, an on-sale alcohol license and a gambling license. Eighteen of the current establishments would have met those requirements, according to Kirkeby.

This is a "slippery slope," warned Sen. David Omdahl, R-Sioux Falls.

"What about the other businesses that want it? What about the other cities that want it?" Omdahl asked.

Patrons will leave bars at their 2 a.m. closing time and go to competitors who are open all night, Vehle said

"Fair? I don't think so," Vehle said.

Kirkeby was the bill's lead sponsor in the Senate. The prime sponsor was Rep. Tim Rounds, R-Pierre.

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