Deadwood celebrates thirty years of legal gaming, locals look to the future
DEADWOOD, SD–The morality of gaming was once a question in Deadwood. Thirty years have passed since the state legislature approved legal gaming for the city and none of the residents have looked back. Instead, they look to the future.
In celebration of the historic milestone, actors for two of the most notable residents’ – Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok- attended, carrying two of a set of 500 ivory handled six-shooters distributed by the American Historical Foundation. The guns are replicas of the original set Hickok himself carried in the 19th century.
Gaming culture has brought a revival to the old mining town. The saloons were the only excitement for miners and other locals prior to reform. Ninety years since then and gambling and tourism have brought millions of dollars to the community and the state.
“As a fifth-generation Deadwood resident I’ve seen Deadwood back in the days before gaming came,” said Mayor David Ruth Jr. “Everyone was excited for people to come into town and they came in droves.”
Deadwood was, at one time, one of three jurisdictions to have legal gaming. Time has brought local competition but people are optimistic about the future, including guest speaker for the event, South Dakota Secretary of Tourism, Jim Hagen.
“Look at what you’re doing together here- what gaming is providing to the city,” Hagen said. “I’m as optimistic about the next thirty years as we have been about the last thirty years. We’ve had our challenges we know that. But I’m going to place my bet on Deadwood and I can’t wait for the next thirty.”
Money from gaming establishments have gone back into funding tourism and local development projects such as Outlaw Square, which is set to be finished by the end of November.