With Deadwood casinos closed, gaming takes 20% hit in March

Deadwood gaming revenue in March was on a similar path to 2019’s numbers, but emergency legislation by the Deadwood City Commission to help slow the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered casinos a week before the end of the month. That lost revenue resulted in a 20% decline from 2019. Pioneer file photo

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DEADWOOD — Oh, what a difference a week makes in the world of gaming. With city officials enacting emergency legislation to slow the spread of COVID-19, ordering casinos to cease operations March 25, Deadwood gaming took a 20% hit in March, compared to the same period in 2019, according to statistics released Monday by the South Dakota Commission on Gaming.

Gamers visiting Deadwood in March dropped right at $69 million in machines and on tables, roughly a 20% decrease compared to March 2019, resulting in $6.1 million in taxable adjusted gross revenues for the industry in March.

Of that, 9%, or $552,785, was collected as state tax and distributed to various entities across the state.

“As the numbers reflect, Deadwood’s economy was on pace with last year until March 25, when our world changed with the COVID-19 pandemic and Deadwood shut down,” said Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association. “The loss in just gaming revenue for Deadwood’s gaming properties was over $1.5 million for the last seven days in March that we were closed.”

Under the handle comparison category, in March, table games had a handle of $3.6 million, down 44.4% compared to March 2019 levels. Under this same category, slot machines had a handle of $65.1 million in March, down 18.17% compared to March 2019. Thus far this year, table games have had a handle of $15.7 million, a 10% decrease compared to 2019 levels, and slot machines have had a handle of $229 million, just under a 1% increase compared to 2019 levels. Thus far in 2020, the collective handle in Deadwood has been $245 million, up .07% compared to the same period in 2019.

As stated in the report, approximately 2,763 slot machines accounted for roughly $65.1 million in coin in, with gamers winning around $59.3 million with an estimated average payout of 91%, leaving a statistical win of around $6 million for the slot category in March. The two largest contributors were 2,176 penny machines, with $48 million in coin-in, which generated roughly $4.6 million in statistical win and a 90% payout to players, followed by 256 dollar machines, with $6.4 million in coin-in, which generated roughly $425,087 in statistical win, and a 93% payout to players.

With 100 tables reporting revenue, table games generated a drop of $3.6 million in March and an estimated statistical win of $724,330, with an average payout to players of 78%. The leading revenue generator in this category was blackjack, with 40 tables reporting a drop of roughly $1.6 million and a statistical win of $299,419 with an 81% payout to players.

Five craps tables in town generated a drop of $224,748, a statistical win of $38,816, and an 83% payout to players; eight roulette tables in town generated a drop of $236,867, a statistical win of $31,297, and an 87% payout to players.

Rodman said Deadwood gaming operators rewarded players with $1,188,238 in “free-play” for the month of March.

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(1) comment

The Great One

I'm going out on a limb here and predicting that April will be a record low.

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