DEADWOOD — Deadwood gaming numbers continued their upward climb in October, showing positive increases in the overall handle, as well as gross revenues.
Total gross revenues for October 2011 versus October 2012 were up from $9 million to $9.4 million, an increase of just more than 4 percent or nearly $400,000.
The handle, or total money wagered for October 2011 versus October 2012, increased 5.4 percent, or $103 million versus $97.6 million, an upturn of approximately $5.4 million.
“Thank goodness for table games and penny slots!” said Tom Nelson, president of the Deadwood Gaming Association. “Those two categories managed to give the industry at least a modest apparent gain for October. I say ‘apparent’ since the properties are increasing their promotional play which is reflected as gross revenue and is taxed. As long as this reporting of phantom play continues, there is no real picture of the health ... or lack thereof ... for Deadwood gaming industry.”
Deadwood Mountain Grand General Manager Brad Hemmah said that October gross revenue numbers appear to be consistent with the increases since July of this year.
“We must keep in mind that comparing revenue and coin-in activity to the prior October is not apples to apples, because October 2011 had five Saturdays and October 2012 had only four,” Hemmah said. “However, year to date total gross revenue shows an impressive increase of 6.8 percent. Higher table limits have contributed, on average, an additional $200,000 to the bottom line each month, since July and are up 14.7 percent year to date.”
Hemmah, too, cautioned regarding the free play factor.
“Although these figures are positive, it is prudent to keep in mind they only represent a measure of gaming activity because of the inclusion of ‘free play’ (or virtual credits),” Hemmah said. “In winter months the free play factor is a larger portion of the total gross revenue figure.”
Nevertheless, with October numbers up over prior year, more good news was revealed in the 2012 cumulative gaming totals, which also remain up.
Year to date, gross revenues are up in Deadwood by nearly 7 percent, or roughly $6 million. A total of approximately $92.1 million was generated thus far in 2012 versus a total of $86.3 million during the same period in 2011.
Year to date, the handle is also up in Deadwood by 8.15 percent, or roughly $76 million. Total year to date handle is just more than $1 billion as compared to $931.3 million for the same period in 2011.
Year to date, table game revenues are up more than 14 percent over 2011 and increased from approximately $7.5 million to $8.6 million.
Year to date, slot machine revenue is up 6 percent over 2011 and increased from $78.8 million to $83.5 million.
Chuck Turbiville, director of Deadwood Lead Economic Development Corporation, said that he credits the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce and the activities they put out throughout the month of October for the gaming numbers increase.
“The increase in October over last year is credited to a number of things,” Turbiville said. “First of all, the weather in October was extremely nice. People were anxious to get out. Also, the economy in South Dakota is stronger than in many other states, which is a reflection of the tradition in visiting South Dakota and the increase in gaming numbers. But the biggest contributing effort is the work done by the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce. There was an event in Deadwood almost every weekend, starting with Octoberfest, the Wild West Songwriters Festival, the state nine-ball tournament and Deadweird. All four events were well attended.”