Saturday, September 2, 2017

Deadwood dying?

by Larry Miller

Historic Deadwood is losing actor Kevin Costner's Midnight Star Casino and Restaurant after a run of nearly 26 years.  While the news hit local print and broadcast media in the Black Hills, we found an online casino review site with a rather fascinating take on the closing.

Downtown Deadwood at dusk. (SD Dept. of Tourism)
Writer Kevin Horridge of Casino.org wrote that gaming revenues in Deadwood are down 3.5 percent this year and observed that – under the subheading Deadwood Dying – "No longer does the South Dakota history-rich town have the enticement of casinos to bring tourists to the remote hills."   Even if true, we doubt that spells the demise of Deadwood.

We're not big on gaming, but we're pleased at what it has done in bolstering the Deadwood economy since 1989 – and the significant residual benefits for historic preservation.

We wonder about plans to build a $40-50 million dollar casino and "entertainment destination" along the Missouri River at Yankton.  That idea was run up the flagpole earlier this year.

Of course, the real trick for folks promoting the Yankton initiative will be to get the South Dakota constitution amended.  They'll need the kind of latitude with gaming that thus far has been granted only to Deadwood.

Stay tuned.

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