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Probe Reports of Poker Cheating in Deadwood; Casino Has License Suspended

FILE: Deadwood, South Dakota
Robyn Wright/KSOO-AM

DEADWOOD, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota’s gambling commission is looking into reports of cheating at poker tables in the western gambling town of Deadwood.

Member Dennis Duncan says the state Commission on Gaming has received numerous informal complaints the past couple of years of players working together in poker games to obtain the chips of opponents. He says it’s the commission’s responsibility to ensure the integrity of the games.

The Rapid City Journal reports that the commission has approved hiring a consultant to look into the validity of the collusion claims, and to provide recommendations to casinos on identifying cheating at poker tables.

The Deadwood Gaming Association supports the move. Executive Director Mike Rodman says the industry doesn’t want its reputation tarnished “by rumor, innuendo and disgruntled patrons’ blogs.”

Meanwhile, South Dakota’s Commission on Gaming has punished a Deadwood casino for failing to provide acceptable revenue reports over several years.

The Rapid City Journal reports that the group fined the Four Aces Casino $25,000 and suspended the business’s gambling license for 15 days, effective Dec. 2. Executive Secretary Larry Eliason says it’s the largest penalty he can remember in his nearly two decades with the commission. The casino plans to appeal.

The commission says the casino has repeatedly failed to provide accurate, complete and legible revenue reports, dating to 2008.

Casino Chief Financial Officer Steve Comer says the reporting errors were due to changing state reporting requirements and problems with the casino’s antiquated software program. He says Four Aces hired a consultant to address the problem.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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