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Deadwood Recovers Some Gambling Action in June; Coronavirus Hole Still Deep

South Dakota’s official approach to coronavirus shows we’re passionate gamblers. So do the rosy June figures from Deadwood’s casinos:

The number of people hitting Deadwood’s slot machines and gaming tables has skyrocketed and casino operators saw a 14% jump over 2019’s June numbers.

Gamers visiting Deadwood in June dropped roughly $113 million in machines and on tables resulting in $10.2 million in taxable adjusted gross revenues for the industry in May 2020.

Of that, 9%, or $921,568, was collected as state tax and distributed to various entities across the state [Jaci Conrad Pearson, “Deadwood Finds a Jackpot in June,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2020.07.21].

But coronavirus might be affecting gamblers’ preferred means of losing their money, as table games, with all those shared cards and dice, are down while lonely slots are up:

Under the handle comparison category, in June, table games had a handle of $5.2 million, down 12% compared to June 2019 levels. Under this same category, slot machines had a handle of $107.4 million in June, up 14% compared to June 2019 [Conrad Pearson, 2020.07.21].

June was good, but Deadwood will need more banner months to make up for the coronavirus hit the casinos took this spring. Deadwood gambling is down 16.93% for the year so far. To make up for that $85-million shortfall, Deadwood would need all six months of the rest of 2020 to produce extra business matching the June surge.

Related Recession: Iowa reports its tax revenues from gambling dropped $64.6 million from March 19 through July 2.


  1. jerry 2020-07-22 11:09

    Irony is that most of the players in Deadwood are geezers and being geezers, their chance of serious trump virus is an odds on favorite. This trumpvirus will most certainly get a whole lot worse as it infects us by the thousands…each day. Tic toc is more dangerous though…we are disgracing ourselves.

    “These policies got thousands of people killed and have destroyed the livelihoods of others who refused to sacrifice themselves for a false trade-off between public health and gross domestic product. The economy in the United States cannot and will not recover until policymakers get control of the pandemic.

    But sometimes when our leaders talk about “the economy,” they’re not really talking about trade flows and inventories. They’re using the term as a placeholder for a system of social domination that continues to appeal to wide elements of our ruling class even as the costs of that system to working people have turned increasingly, obviously deadly. It is a disgrace.” Zach Carter

  2. Debbo 2020-07-22 20:24

    Whoa. That is a harsh piece you linked to Jerry. I say that not because it’s inaccurate, but due to its bald bluntness. I’d say he’s easily half right, or more.

  3. Jake 2020-07-23 10:42

    Debbo, I agree. Having a working class that has to go to work at places even tho not safe from the virus only guarantees further, quicker progress for the wealthier along with the tax breaks given by politicians bought with proceeds(profits) from those endangered workers. Trump playing with his “little green men” in Portland and soon other Democratic cities is no different than a CEO or plant manager doing the same with an endangered workforce.

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