The senate in South Dakota voted 23-12 against giving voters a say on whether gambling activities should be expanded in the US state, pulling the rug from beneath the Port Yankton casino project in the process.
The move means that the issue will not appear on the November statewide election ballot, reports the Press & Dakotan.
Supporters of the Port Yankton scheme are seeking a single state-issued gambling licence for a single location but that would require a change to the South Dakota constitution, hence the need for a vote.
As the scheme sought backers, two tribes entered the fray – with supporters talking up the tribes’ experience in the gambling sector – but no tribe would be able to be involved in the operation of an off-reservation casino.
The tribes were the Yankton Sioux, which runs the Fort Randall casino, and the Santee Sioux, which operators a casino in Nebraska.
Senator Craig Kennedy urged the senate to place the constitutional amendment on the November ballot, saying that the gambling licence was a vital incentive in the development of a hotel, convention centre and entertainment complex in the small city of Yankton.