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South Dakota says no to casino industry expansion

Senators in the US state of South Dakota have voted against a resolution that would have allowed for the inclusion of a proposal to expand the states casino industry on a ballot taking place in November.

southdakotasenate

In a vote late on Thursday evening, senators voted 23-12 against Senate Joint Resolution 9, which called for an amendment to the states constitution which would allow a casino gaming venue to be built in the town of Yankton, South Dakota. Senate Joint Resolution 9 was put to the full senate floor after a successful vote earlier in the day.

The Port Yankton Project, which champions the development, calls for the construction of a casino facility in the town as a way of reviving the fortunes of the town of Yankton and attracting more revenue to the state.  Advocates have also said that there could also be room for a hotel and convention centre on the site.

South Dakota state laws currently prohibit interested parties from developing a casino facility without first being approved by local residents and then only with the implementation of a constitutional amendment.

However, the Port Yankton Project has been reported opposed by a number of tribes currently operating tribal casinos in the Yankton area, on the grounds that it would affect their businesses.

Unconfirmed reports claim that officials for the Yankton Sioux and Santee Sioux had expressed an interest in participating in the Port Yankton Project, however they would be unable to as tribes are barred from operating gambling on non-reservation land under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

In an interview with the Press & Dakotan newspaper, Pastor Dani Jo Ninke of Yankton’s Christ the King Lutheran Church voiced her opposition saying "I have no opposition to entertainment centres and I’m not against fun.

"I just respectfully disagree with those that think this is a good idea to bring a casino to Yankton. Those who are supportive of Port Yankton say, ‘We’ve already got gambling, so let’s just pop up a casino and then we can get all sorts of economic benefits.’ I respectfully disagree. I don’t think the economic benefits that we would receive from a casino will be worth the cost in human terms."


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