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Illegal slot machine will be turned to junk

DEADWOOD -- The state Gaming Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to order the destruction of an illegal slot machine that was for sale at a Keystone business.

"It breaks my heart — but..." commission member Harry Christianson of Rapid City said.

Mark Heltzel, an enforcement agent for the commission, said it was an IGT "Red, White and Blue" model.

They came on the market in 1990 and are now somewhat of a collector's item.

The Keystone machine was taken into custody from Halley's 1880 Store on Jan. 31, after an anonymous caller on Jan. 30 reported it was advertised on an Internet site.

Heltzel said store owner Bob Nelson reportedly told the agents that he recalled buying it at an auction in Deadwood some years ago and thought it was at Hickok's casino.

Gaming commission records show the machine was last licensed in 2005 at Hickok's, he said.

Hickok's Hotel and Casino was incorporated in 2005 and ceased operations several years ago. Its last annual report was filed in 2010.

No one from the Keystone store appeared at the hearing.

The machine could still be operated for betting purposes, according to Heltzel. It is against state law to privately possess an operating slot machine that is unlicensed. An exception for possession of historic machines requires they be at least 25 years old and no longer operational for betting.