Kevin Costner South Dakota Dunbar Site Sale Not Such A Tough Call

COMMENTARY — Kevin Costner’s South Dakota property sale announcement raised a few eyebrows — especially with the unintentionally hilarious remark from real estate agent Mike Percevich which claimed that dumping the site of the never-gonna-happen Dunbar Resort turkey was a difficult decision.

As The Inquisitr reported yesterday, Dances With Wolves star and South Dakota casino owner Kevin Costner said he was finally throwing in the towel on the 1,000-acre site in South Dakota’s Black Hills near Deadwood. He wants $14 million for the property, which includes completed work like land leveling, parking lots, and the water, sewer, and storm drains.

I don’t blame the real estate agent for trying to put a brave face on trying to sell some property out in the Black Hills sticks for millions of dollars, but every time I read this comment, I have to admit I crack up laughing.

“He [Costner] has a strong sense of loyalty to the area and it was a hard decision for him,” Percevich said.

Somehow I think Kevin Costner’s South Dakota loyalty can continue just fine based on his continued ownership of the Midnight Star casino on Deadwood’s Main Street.

C’mon. It couldn’t have taken the months Percevich claimed it did to figure out that in the new gambling economy, the Dunbar casino site might as well go on the open market. It’s a multi-million dollar parking lot in the middle of the Black Hills which appears to have little chance of becoming much more in the overdeveloped casino market.

Costner failed to find investors for the doomed project — and for good reason. He would be competing not just with his own venture on Main Street but with a “me too” casino industry that has legalized some form of casino or slot gambling in almost every state. Dunbar was just too late to the party.

Even though casino gambling in Deadwood goes back to 1989, it was strictly for peanuts, with a betting limit of $5 — which voters raised to a still piddly $100 maximum in 2000.

The betting limit was finally raised to $1,000 on July 1, 2012 — far too late to take advantage of the explosive growth in money spent on casino gambling by consumers in the 1990s.

Even Las Vegas itself has struggled in recent years, with Nevada one of the states hardest-hit by the 2007-2008 economic collapse. The Atlantic City casino market could be described as a disaster — and not just because of Superstorm Sandy but because of the oversupply of new casino competition everywhere from Delaware to Philadelphia.

If you want to gamble in the middle of a desert, why go to the Black Hills when you can go to the M’s $1 billion resort an hour outside of Las Vegas? That’s 10 times the projected cost of the Dunbar resort and when you realize you screwed up and got too far away from the real action, you don’t have as far to drive back.

I wish Kevin Costner luck with the South Dakota land sale but unless there’s gold on the property, I’ll stand amazed if it sells for $14 million.

[Deadwood, South Dakota main street photo by Richie Diesterheft via Flickr, Creative Commons]