San Francisco, CA — (SBWIRE) — 10/15/2012 — The Rapid City (SD) Journal reports that casinos in Deadwood, South Dakota may now pay blackjack players $1.50 less on a winning $5 bet. The decision follows the state’s gaming commission unanimously accepted a proposal from the owner of two casinos which reduced the payoff to single-deck players to 6-to-5, down from the previous 3-to-2 rate.
The difference is that a player who gets dealt 21 after betting $5 on the hand at the traditional 3-to-2 payout, which results in $7.50 from the casino. A 6-5 payout rate affords the player a $6 payout. Similarly, a $10 bet would bring in $12, rather than the previous $15, and so on. Mathematically, the change would boost the house advantage in a single-deck blackjack game, in which the house has the lowest advantage, from 0.2 percent to 1.59%, which is nearly an eight-fold increase.
The South Dakota gaming commission unanimously approved the lower payout proposal from ISIS Hospitality, which operates the Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort and Tin Lizzie casinos in Deadwood. The director gambling operations for Cactus Jack’s says the location does not currently offer single-deck blackjack, but some customers have requested such a change. The casino now takes bets up to $1,000 per hand, the new maximum allowed since the state legislature raised it from $100, effective July 1.
Under state law, casinos have to mark their payout rules clearly on blackjack tables. With the newly approved rule, South Dakota casinos now can offer the lower payout. In addition, staffers at the South Dakota Commission on Gambling say that only a handful of Deadwood casinos at present offer single-deck blackjack. By contrast, Las Vegas’ similar lower payouts are already in place in about a quarter of the city’s blackjack tables, most commonly for single-deck games.
Some Deadwood gambling sites that plan to retain the traditional 3-to-2 payout argue that smaller payouts could harm Deadwood’s gambling reputation. Some even go as far to state that than it suffered when Jack McCall gunned down Wild Bill Hickok at a poker table in Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon there in 1876.
State Gaming Commissioner Harry Christianson observes it is up to casinos to choose the payout they want to offer, and to consumers to decide where they want to gamble. Still, Deadwood casinos reported overall blackjack revenues this August rose 11.7% over last year’s levels. August and September are usually Deadwood casinos’ best months, but gambling establishments credit higher table limits for much of the gain. South Dakota voters in 1988 approved limited-stake gambling in Deadwood, where there are about 80 gambling locations.
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