Ruby Valley Home

 < visit our local sponsors

We'd like to thank these local businesses for their support of

Vacation Rentals
Rod & Rifle Inn

Tour Guides
Great Divide Wildlands Institute  

Aviation Fuel/Service
Ruby Valley Aviation  

Specialty Services
Montana Mad Hatters
Montana Moments Photography

Ranch & Conservation
Ranch Resources
Ruby Habitat Foundation

Real Estate
Clear Creek Realty 



Madison County Fair and Parade Results 
fair results >>

Greater Ruby Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture meets the first Tuesday of every month at 12 noon. Call for location 684-5849.

Twin Bridges School Board meetings are held each month on the third Tuesday. Call 684-5656 for location and time.

News Archives >>
Got news? Email us to have it published online. <<


Butte, Montana

Pros and Cons of Open Gambling
By Leslie McCartney of The Montana Standard

March 2, 2003

A new lodge under construction in Black Hawk, Colorado
A new lodge under construction in Black Hawk, Colorado. While gambling brings monies into a community, it also can bring changes that the townspeople may not be expecting. Photo: Glen Martin of the Denver Post

While Butte is different in many ways from Black Hawk and Central City, Colo., and Deadwood, S.D., the towns share common threads: They are all Western mining towns whose boom days have long gone and all were left searching for a savior to mend their desperate economies.

What they found -- and some Butte officials are hoping to find with a $1.8 billion project planned -- is gambling.

Gambling poured millions into those towns' economies, built infrastructure to replace aging and expensive systems, saved historic buildings, provided jobs, helped schools and created excitement.

"The people I've talked to seem pretty happy about it," said Dave Blanchard, city manager for Black Hawk.

He said the town has an upgraded water system, low property taxes, paved streets, new street lights, rehabilitated buildings and a full-time paid fire and police departments -- something unheard of in a community of only a few hundred people.

"If you are going to serve an industry, you have to serve it, and the citizens benefit," he added.

But those who have experienced the change from charming, but ailing, mining towns to a destination point warn that it comes with a price.

"Caution would be the word; it's a huge change, and people should do this incrementally," said Jim Lindberg, an assistant director for the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Denver. "It completely transforms a community into a gambling community. People shouldn't have any illusions about that," he said.

Lindberg worked closely with Colorado gaming towns in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and his private nonprofit organization region includes Montana.

Deadwood, S.D., saw dramatic changes in its conversion to gaming.

"You can't buy groceries in Deadwood, you can't buy clothing, you can't buy a birthday present," added Jay Vogt, a historic preservation officer in South Dakota. He said that Main Street and its businesses have all but vanished, since leasing buildings to casinos was much more lucrative than continuing to operate a business.

"You just have casinos and residential. There's no heart to the community," he added.

Gambling has become an economic bonanza for towns like Deadwood -- so popular that Indian tribes have large casinos, gambling riverboat tours have been added in the South and other communities are considering gambling as a way to survive.

Along with gambling's wealth of positives are negatives, too. Those who have been through the process say the community should carefully ensure it is protected and use gambling revenues wisely, funneling them where they do the most good.

"If you do it, make sure your best interests are at heart," said George Milos, executive director of the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce and Visitors' Bureau, whose town sees about 1.5 million visitors a year in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

part 2 >> Cold Hard Cash 

Copyright Leslie McCartney and the Montana Standard, reproduced by permission.

:: Updated articles and information from the Montana Standard ::

Home | Silver Star | Twin Bridges | Sheridan | Laurin | Alder | Nevada City | Virginia City

News | Churches | Lodging | Real Estate | Business Listings


Questions or comments? Contact li&