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Iowa to Steal Blackjack Players from South Dakota

Sep 21, 2010

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The US states of Iowa and South Dakota share a border. Near this border on the Iowa side, work is being done on a massive gambling center and golf resort called Larchwood Casino. When Larchwood owners applied for a license from the state government to run their casino, the Iowa Gaming Commission compiled a report that had some interesting statistics in it.

According to this report, it is estimated that nearly three quarters of all gamblers spending money at Larchwood will come from South Dakota. These South Dakotan gamblers will spend $55 million each year in Iowa. That is a lot of tax dollars.

Even more surprising is the estimation that of the 755 employees required to run the new Larchwood Casino, 679 will come from South Dakota. This may be good news for employees, but local employers will have to up wages in order to keep their workers from jumping ship to work in the new gambling center.

But while Iowa will be pulling players and workers from South Dakota, all construction and major purchases will be local, thanks to the state’s “Buy Iowa First” policy.

An obvious choice for South Dakota is to build their own casino, and this is definitely being considered. The only casinos currently operating in the state are run by South Dakota Indian tribes, who do not have permission to open casinos outside of their land.

But all it would take is one signature from governor Mike Rounds to give them permission to open a casino in nearby Sioux Falls, a move that could keep gamblers in the state, spending their money playing blackjack card games in South Dakota instead of Iowa. Unfortunately, the state government is taking their time making a decision, a move that is likely keeping Larchwood Casino operators smiling big.


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