Deadwood gaming sees superb September

With 2,479 machines reporting revenue in the amount of $129.1 million, the slot machine revenue in Deadwood was up more than 19% in September, compared to the same month in 2019. Thus far this year, slot machines have had a handle of $785 million, a 6% decrease compared to 2019 levels. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

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DEADWOOD — Boosted by both the Celebrity Hotel and Midnight Star being back on the books, Deadwood gaming numbers exploded in September, up nearly 20% compared to the same period in 2019, according to statistics released Wednesday by the South Dakota Commission on Gaming.

Gamers visiting Deadwood last month dropped roughly $136 million in machines and on tables, a 19% increase compared to September 2019, resulting in $11.7 million in taxable adjusted gross revenues for the industry in September. Of that, 9%, or $1.1 million, was collected as state tax and distributed to various entities across the state.

“We are pleased with the strong recovery that Deadwood is experiencing,” said Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association. “It is obvious that visitors feel comfortable with Deadwood’s COVID-19 guidelines and the investment that Gov. (Kristi) Noem made in additional tourism marketing is reaping great dividends. Deadwood gaming revenue still has some ground to make up, as revenues are down 6.7% year to date for 2020.”

Under the handle comparison category, in September, table games had a handle of $6.7 million, up 11% compared to September 2019 levels. Under this same category, slot machines had a handle of $129.1 million in September, up more than 19% compared to September 2019. Thus far this year, table games have had a handle of $46 million, an 18% decrease compared to 2019 levels, and slot machines have had a handle of $785 million, a 6% decrease compared to 2019 levels.

Thus far in 2020, the collective handle in Deadwood has been $830.2 million, down 7% compared to the same period in 2019.

As stated in the report, approximately 2,479 slot machines accounted for roughly $129 million in coin in, with gamers winning around $118 million with an estimated average payout of 91%, leaving a statistical win of around $11 million for the slot category in September. The two largest contributors were 1,911 penny machines, with $92.3 million in coin-in, which generated roughly $8 million in statistical win and a 91% payout to players, followed by 252 dollar machines, with $15.3 million in coin-in, which generated roughly $1.3 million in statistical win, and a 92% payout to players.

With 83 tables reporting revenue, table games generated a drop of $6.7 million in September and an estimated statistical win of $1.1 million, with an average payout to players of 83%. The leading revenue generator in this category was blackjack, with 37 tables reporting a drop of roughly $3.1 million and a statistical win of $364,088 with an 88% payout to players.

Four craps tables in town generated a drop of $403,632, a statistical win of $93,743, and a 77% payout to players; nine roulette tables in town generated a drop of $313,805, a statistical win of $19,574, and a 94% payout to players.

Rodman said Deadwood gaming operators rewarded players with $1,050,698 in “free-play” for the month of September.

“In order to enhance Deadwood’s gaming offerings and keep Deadwood competitive as a gaming destination, the industry is urging voters to vote Yes on Amendment B, an amendment to allow sports wagering in Deadwood gaming facilities,” Rodman added.

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