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Deadwood gaming holds steady

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Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2013 6:00 am

DEADWOOD – July numbers aren’t falling, they’re just flat. Deadwood gaming numbers held their own during the month of July, with reports showing just under 1 percent increase in gross revenues, and just more than a 3 percent increase in the overall handle.

Total gross revenues for July 2012 versus July 2013 were up from approximately $10.2 million to $10.3 million.

The handle, or total money wagered for July 2012 versus July 2013 increased 3.21 percent, or roughly $108 million versus $111.4 million, an upturn of approximately $3.5 million.

Tom Nelson, president of the Deadwood Gaming association, said that he’s been waiting for July’s stats for more than a year now.

“This is when we can compare some ‘apples to apples’ since its been a year since the $1,000 bet limit became legal,” Nelson said. “I am a bit disappointed that we are down for the year! However, being ‘flat’ with 2012 is not a bad thing since that month’s numbers were up substantially over the same period in 2011.”

Nelson said that if a comparison is made between July 2013 and July 2011, the stats are still up across the board.

“It is always good to be up! But, we are down 257 devices and down eight locations ... so that shows that several places have closed or reduced their operation,” Nelson said. “Another caution in the numbers is the increases in promotional or ‘free play’ that the individual properties are investing. Those free play dollars do end up being reported, and taxed, as gross revenue. This always gives me apprehension in the true health of the industry.”

While July numbers are up, 2013 cumulative gaming totals continue to lag behind 2012 in every category, with the exception of table game revenue.

Year to date, gross revenues are down in Deadwood by 0.23 percent, or roughly $142,000. A total of $60.7 million was generated thus far in 2013 versus a total of $60.8 million during the same period in 2012.

Year to date, the handle is also down in Deadwood by 1.92 percent, or roughly $12.8 million. Total year to date handle is $654.6 million as compared to $667.4 million for the same period in 2012.

Year to date, table game revenues are up nearly 12.5 percent over 2012 and increased from approximately $5.6 million to $6.3 million. Year to date, slot machine revenue is down 1.53 percent from 2012 and decreased from $55 million to $54 million.

Deadwood Mayor Chuck Turbiville, who is also the executive director of Deadwood-Lead Economic Development Corporation, said that while July numbers are flat, that isn’t necessarily a good indicator of the health of the gaming industry.

“If you look at the numbers so far this year, compared to last year at this time, we’re only down 0.2 percent, and last year was a record year for us,” Turbiville said. “I’m still optimistic that we’ll end up the year on a positive note. It’s a lot to compare to, with last year being so good. So far, indicators for August are good. We’re in the midst of what is shaping up to be one of the largest Kool Deadwood Nites we’ve ever had, so I’m looking forward to the August numbers hopefully being up.”

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