The limit of what is and isn’t permitted under city and state alcohol and gambling laws is once again being put to the test by a casino operator in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Last year, Commonwealth Gaming and Holdings (CGH) caused a controversy when it established smoking rooms in some of its locations in Sioux Falls. The company justified the move by saying that the spaces where smoking was permitted were businesses that were not affiliated with the casinos operating within the same buildings.
A new location at 5115 E. Arrowhead Parkway is being built by the company and it wants to have twice the number of video lottery machines that the law allows in an establishment by claiming two separate business entities, each with its own unique alcohol license, will operate under one roof. Sioux Falls licensing specialist Jamie Palmer said that 10 video lottery machines are permitted per alcohol license and CGH wants 20 machines in their new building, according to the Argus Leader. That poses a problem for a majority of city councilors, who on two occasions have rejected CHG’s attempts to secure licenses for wine and beer for its planned location. The law in South Dakota prohibits alcohol products purchased from one establishment being taken into another location.
Originally, the floor plans from CGH for its Arrowhead Parkway location that were submitted to the city showed one open space inside with no walls to distinguish one business from the other. And last month councilors said that the co-mingling of businesses, where one patio, one bathroom, and a single entrance, would make enforcing the rule nearly impossible.
After reconfiguring its floor plan in an attempt to ease the concerns of the councilors, on Tuesday CGH was back at Carnegie Town Hall. However, this time, the plans included patio access that was limited to only one side of the building and walls with locking doors were added near the entrance to ensure patrons weren’t attempting to maneuver both sides of the building. But that wasn’t enough to quell the concerns of the majority of the councilors, who voted against granting the casino the alcohol permits. The 6-2 vote was due to the fact that in the new floorplan there was an open corridor on one end of the building, which would allow patrons to pass from one side to the other while being served at one bar area. However, in anticipation of the building’s construction, dirt is already being moved in and on Wednesday councilors said that they expect CGH to once again go back to the drawing board before making another attempt to obtain the alcohol licenses it seeks.
Throughout Sioux Falls, the company owns multiple video lottery casinos, including Crown Central Casino and Deuces Casino.