Proxy bets cost Deadwood Casino employees their licenses


The owner of Mustang Sally’s Deadwood sports bar and casino and one of his employees have repeatedly violated codified South Dakota laws, and no amount of remorse or remorse could save the venue’s owner from a hefty fine. A license revocation was imposed on both the owner and the employee concerned.

Proxy betting, extending credit prohibited

The South Dakota Gaming Commission (SDCG) held an administrative hearing last Wednesday, September 28, and the allegations against Mustang owner Sally Toby Keehn and one of the facility’s employees, Jennifer Haefs, resulted in both their licenses were revoked. According to SDCG’s documents, Keehn and Haefs both conducted illegal proxy betting, which is a Class 6 felony under the South Dakota Codified Laws (SDCL). It was also noted that Keehn allegedly provided loans, which also violates SDCL, but specific amounts were not mentioned in the administrative hearing document.

SDCL 42-7B-83 prohibits certain individuals from wagering, and line four of the list of individuals states “an agent or agent of any person for the purpose of placing or redeeming a bet,” which both Keehn and Haefs did not just for each other , but also for other people. According to the investigation, state investigators were able to find evidence of as many as 95 proxy bets placed between the two. SDCL 42-7B-45 clearly states that lending by a licensee or an employee of a licensed entity is prohibited and also categorized as a Class 6 felony.

Admission of Guilt, Final Commission Decisions

Keehn was apparently a regular fan of calling his sportsbook and also charging Haefs since she was the one running the bets. During the hearing, Keehn told the SDCG that he was “incredibly sorry” for his “poor judgment,” which is basically a sign that he’s admitting guilt, thereby waiving his Fifth Amendment right, not himself to charge. While Haefs hasn’t testified, Keehn went on to say that while he “can’t undo it,” he promises “it would definitely never happen again.”

Class 6 crimes are covered by SDCL 22-6-1, which deals with “common law penalties,” and according to line 9, Class 6 criminals can be punished with “two years in state prison or a four thousand dollar fine, or both.” for their illegal activities. In the case of Mustang Sally’s owner Toby Keehn and his employees – Jennifer Haefs – the business is only losing their gaming license, which means while the bar portion of it will continue to operate, Haefs is also losing their license, which means they most likely have to Retrain and requalify in another area. The company was also fined $25,000 due no later than October 31, 2022.

This may seem a bit extreme to some, but there was no jail time for any party involved, and sports betting is a relatively large industry in South Dakota. Launched in September 2021, retail bets are only allowed in Deadwood and tribal casinos. Figures through August showed $6,651,301 in total bets and nearly $50,000 in state taxes. So you could say that the fine imposed by the commission accounted for almost half of the taxes the state has collected since the inception of sports betting.


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