December gifts Deadwood gaming a 20% increase

Deadwood’s casinos rounded out 2020 with a 20% increase in December’s handle, the total amount bet, compared to 2019. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

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DEADWOOD — The gift of a 20% increase in December was just what Deadwood gaming needed to bridge the pandemic-induced six-week shutdown gap, as statistics released by the South Dakota Gaming Commission Thursday show double digit gains for December compared to 2019.

“What a strong finish for Deadwood gaming,” said Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association. “It is amazing that we have bounced back to finish the year down only 2.35%.  This put Deadwood’s casino win for 2020 at almost $104 million dollars.  We applaud Governor Noem’s por-business approach during the pandemic and her commitment of additional tourism marketing dollars that made these numbers possible.”

While for 2020 overall, Deadwood gaming ended the year with a total of $1,122,836,215 in gaming action, down 2.35% compared to 2019 cumulative totals.

Gamers visiting Deadwood in a very mild December dropped $99.1 million in machines and on tables, a 20.34% increase compared to December 2019. This resulted in $8.3 million in taxable adjusted gross revenues for the industry in December. Of that, 9%, or $744,548, was collected as state tax and distributed to various entities across the state.

Under the handle comparison category, in December, table games had a handle of $6.1 million, up nearly 2.5% compared to December 2019 levels. Under this same category, slot machines had a handle of $93.1 million in December, up roughly 22% compared to December 2019.

In 2020, the slot machine handle cumulative total was more than $1.1 billion, a 1.6% decrease compared to 2019 levels, and table games had a cumulative handle of $63 million, a 14% decrease compared to 2019 levels. Several establishments closed or drastically cut back their table games in order to accommodate social distancing, even after casinos reopened May 7.

As stated in the report, approximately 2,552 slot machines accounted for roughly $93.1 million in coin in, with gamers winning around $85.3 million with an estimated average payout of 92%, leaving a statistical win of around $7.8 million for the slot category in December. The two largest contributors were 2,008 penny machines, with $70.5 million in coin-in, which generated roughly $6.3 million in statistical win and a 91% payout to players, followed by 231 one-dollar machines, with $8.6 million in coin-in, which generated roughly $602,066 in statistical win, and a 93% payout to players.

With 84 tables reporting revenue, table games generated a drop of $6.1 million in December and an estimated statistical win of $1.1 million, with an average payout to players of 80%. The leading revenue generator in this category was blackjack, with 37 tables reporting a drop of roughly $3 million and a statistical win of $472,819 with an 83% payout to players.

Four craps tables in town generated a drop of $411,775, a statistical win of $68,213, and an 83% payout to players; nine roulette tables in town generated a drop of $287,131, a statistical win of $41,445, and an 86% payout to players.

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

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