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Despite allegations of cheating in poker, casinos showed little interest in seminar

DEADWOOD -- Casino managers received a blistering Wednesday from the state Commission on Gaming over the low interest so far in a seminar next week on detecting and preventing players from cheating at Deadwood's poker tables.

Only one -- The Lodge -- of the four Deadwood casinos that routinely offer poker had committed to sending personnel, according to Larry Eliason, the commission's executive secretary.

Three reservation casinos operated by the Crow Creek, Rosebud and Yankton Sioux tribes also plan to participate, he said.

Letters were sent to all of the casinos in Deadwood, regardless of whether they currently have poker, Eliason said.

The commission's chairman, Chip Kemnitz of Philip, said the lack of interest "gives me pause."

The seminar results from complaints that commissioner Dennis Duncan of Parker brought forward in 2012.

Those discussions led to commission staff lining up trainers to deliver the presentation next week.

Duncan wasn't happy about only one casino committing to the training.

"It shows to me somewhat of an intention to ignore this problem, in some people's mind a serious problem in your gaming industry out here," Duncan said.

He said it will generate continued discussion among the public and "one commissioner at least."

"I think there are going to be consequences for that," Duncan said.

Mike Rodman, executive director for the Deadwood Gaming Association, said he wasn't informed of Wednesday's training session.

"That's part of the problem we have here today," Rodman said.

Commissioner Karen Crew of Sioux Falls didn't agree with Rodman's explanation. "These properties were personally notified," she said.

Crew described the situation as "a ridiculous amount of apathy or determination" on the part of the other casinos.

She said they are putting the reputation of Deadwood gaming at risk.