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More People Losing More Money Gambling in Deadwood and Nationwide

Deadwood is raking in gambling revenues, posting 30% more take in April than back in the pre-pandemic days:

Deadwood Gaming Association Executive Director Mike Rodman said the 2021 gaming handle showed more than a 30% increase compared to April 2019, with the slot machine handle increasing by 31% and the table game handle increasing by 27% compared to April 2019. The cumulative gaming numbers are up more than 37% compared to April 2019.

“Deadwood continues its strong growth in gaming revenues as South Dakota gears up for an exceptional summer tourism season,” said Rodman. “This continued growth trend highlights Deadwood as a gaming destination with national appeal” [Jaci Conrad Pearson, “Deadwood Gaming Sees an Incredible April,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2021.05.24].

Gambling appears to be growing all over the place. Pennsylvania saw record gambling revenues in March and April. Michigan is getting more cash from new suckers customers with the online gaming and sports betting it launched in January. Casinos nationwide posted their best quarter ever in January, February, and March, raking in $11.1 billion.

We fund public works by promoting an addiction that can lead to bankruptcy and suicide, but we can’t get behind funding tax police to make sure rich guys don’t cheat on taxes. We obviously prefer gaming the system to acting as a community to support the system.


  1. Arlo Blundt 2021-05-25

    Well…the State as an enabler of addiction is an ironic reality ignored by politicians in their quest for more revenue. It is viewed as “victimless” taxation since only the stupid and blissfully reckless will play at a game they cannot win. In a just world, it is not an enterprise the State should sponsor not should the State benefit from this addiction. That the State diverts a portion of profits toward treatment of the addicted is cynical. Yes, it is a cynical State that sponsors and benefits from gambling, not a just State.

  2. Mark Anderson 2021-05-25

    Hey guys DeSantis just raised the gambling in Florida via the Seminoles. Kristi had better latch onto the Sioux for the Dakota, or rather use the Dakota for her candidacy. Every community has had people ruin their lives with gambling, I know a couple of them myself. I always help education in Florida twice a week with my lotto ticket. The odds are quadruple billions to one, but somebody has to win right?

  3. Porter Lansing 2021-05-25

    If casino gambling is an addiction that can lead to bankruptcy and suicide, within a small number then
    bicycle riding is an addiction that can lead to getting run over by cars and divorce due to marital neglect, within a small number.

    Point is, you can’t legislate morality or force people to derive enjoyment by denying themselves enjoyment.

  4. Arlo Blundt 2021-05-25

    Yes, Porter, the State has difficulty legislating “morality” though I see gambling as more “foolishness” than immorality. It is exploiting the fools among us. And its not a “small number” of people who become addicted. Visit a casino at midnite. No one ever built up their cardio vascular endurance through playing the one armed bandit. Your analogy is a stretch.

  5. grudznick 2021-05-25

    And again, grudznick and Mr. Blundt are of a mind.

    Other than I can’t stay out past midnight much anymore and don’t see the dregs of foolish humanity that are sipping away on their free cheap beers brought to them by scantily clad ladies who perhaps should not be so scantily clad and perhaps made a little change on their side hustle and clearly smoke too much.

  6. Porter Lansing 2021-05-25

    With all due respect, Arlo and no respect to grudz (with a small g) what business is it of yours how people choose to enjoy themselves? And don’t come with the, “It costs us all.” crapola. SD has virtually zero programs to help anyone but the wealthy. And, if you can think of some, Pierre will continue to ignore the needy and attack them mercilessly.

  7. Arlo Blundt 2021-05-25

    Well..Porter, you are exactly correct…Pierre does “ignore the needy and attack them mercifully” by expanding gambling, making it more accessible, and placing upon it the aura of legitimacy. Just because it is prevalent doesn’t mean it should be legalized. I don’t believe it should be punished but the State, in all its power and glory, should not facilitate it. The State should not be a sponsor of human suffering.

  8. Porter Lansing 2021-05-25

    Research shows there’s no person named Arlo Blundt in America.
    So, then Mr or Ms or other *insert your real name here.
    -The state doesn’t sponsor gambling.
    -The state is choosing not to interfere with peoples right to choose their own forms of entertainment.
    -When the state outlaws a person’s choice, that’s when it sponsors.
    -You’re miscalculated in your desire to tell people what they shouldn’t do.
    -Exhibiting unrequested influence on others is bullying.
    -Exhibiting unrequested influence on others without them being present is cowardice.
    -Your thinking is exhibiting cowardly bullying.

  9. grudznick 2021-05-25

    Mr. Lansing, grudznick is not trying to prevent people from going into casinos of their own volition and contributing to the tax base in ways I choose not to contribute. That extra cash in the pocketbooks of the governments, which I can opt out of, keeps the legislatures from trying to gore at my goat. Better they get their blood from your goat than from mine.

    Mr. Blundt is mostly righter than right.

  10. Arlo Blundt 2021-05-25

    Porter..I don’t object to bookies doing business, or to “card rooms” in the back of saloons or pool halls. I don’t object to “gambling boards” during the world series. These are privately operated games of chance. I don’t even have an objection to the casinos in Deadwood who support with a portion of their profits Historical Preservation throughout the State.I would like to see the portion for Historical Preservation increased. I believe Indian Tribes, under the sovereignty accorded them by the US Constitution, have the right to operate casinos. I do not believe the State should operate “video lottery” on every street corner in the state nor operate a state lottery for no other purpose but to raise revenue. The State should not act as a purveyor of games of chance. I am not telling others how to enjoy themselves. I am telling the State that there is an expectation that government will operate ethically and justly.

  11. Porter Lansing 2021-05-26

    I see.

    What I see is two anonymous comments from people backstroking like the Tokyo Olympics has already begun.

    My question remains …

    What business is it of yours?

  12. Donald Pay 2021-05-26

    This is an interesting discussion. Unlike Arlo, I never expect the government in South Dakota to operate ethically and justly. It never has. It never will.

    Gambling in the state-sponsored form came to South Dakota in the 1980’s, the time when Reaganomics relentlessly hollowed out the Rustbelt and the Bread Belt. States had budgetary problems year after year. In South Dakota, there was some discussion that an income tax would alleviate the constant budge shortfalls. Of course, the wealthy didn’t want that. The states took what they thought was the easy way out. In order to paper over the budget situation, and not have to make hard decisions, the gambling industry stepped in to offer a solution. Remember, this was a time when Trump’s Atlantic City con was built and Las Vegas had a rebirth. Gambling and corrupt conservative politics are correlated.

    But we can’t blame the politicians only. People voted for every expansion of gambling, and that included video gambling, in South Dakota. I voted against every expansion of gambling, and I voted for every attempt to limit gambling. People seem to like to gamble, though. I admit I went to Deadwood about four times a year to drop quarters in the slots. I had a limit of $20. If I lost that, I was done. Sometimes I won enough to buy dinner.

    Myself, I prefer the state tax me than lure me to a gambling den where Grudz’ scantily clad wife plies me with alcohol to get me to drop more money in the one-armed bandit, so he doesn’t have to pay taxes. It is a kind of whoring of the state, so why not legalize prostitution while you’re at it. That way Grudz’ household also benefits.

    The effects of video gambling could be seen immediately in my Rapid City neighborhood. The convenience stores and gas stations were turned into gambling dens. Then the car title loan, payday loan and other such clip joints came in a year later. The hotels became even more rundown. Welcome to the Hotel South Dakota!
    Just a pubic hair outside city limits, a strip joint provided a little glimpse of heaven. Ah, the benefits of gambling!

  13. grudznick 2021-05-26

    That’s why most people don’t live in North Rapid, Mr. Pay. But some still rue the closing of Shotgun Willie’s which was smack dab in town.

  14. bearcreekbat 2021-05-26

    Perhaps part of the problem is the misnomer of “legalizing” a private activity. The government cannot “legalize” any private activity. The government can only “criminalize” the activity, or “regulate” it with civil consequences for noncompliance with the regulation. Hence, Porter’s complaint – what business does government have in sticking it nose into someone’s private activity with threats of jail or fines, as long as that activity harms no one except, perhaps arguably the individual engaging in the activity?

    Arlo’s complaint, however, does not seem to be with legalization per se by the government, but with participation by the government in the private activity. Arlo raises the question why should our government engage in activities that he, and others, believe exploit what he perceives as human weaknesses?

    That brings us to Donald’s point. Our government needs funds to operate and has to make decisions on how to raise those those funds. Taxation is the basic method of raising funds, but this method seems to be feared and hated by many folks, so they are quite susceptible to being influenced by various euphemisms for collecting revenue (i.e. taxation). With gambling, the euphenism tells people that needed funds are raised, not by taxing everyone, but by taking money spent in the private sector by people’s gambling proclivities, which in reality, is simply another variation of taxing. If I run a casino, or a bar with video lottery machines, I have to give the government a portion of the gambling revenue I take in. And since this revenue comes from customers, it is they who are paying the gambling tax to the government.

    So the bottom line seems to be whether it is better to consiciously pay taxes directly, or to have some fun gambling while only semi-consciously paying taxes. Either way, our government will be involved due to the absolute necessity of funding needed government activities.

  15. Donald Pay 2021-05-26

    I loved the area before video gambling, Grudz. I lived just south of North Rapid, but we’re all the same kind of working class folks. I talked to Police Chief Hennies once about our area. He said our neighborhood had less crime than many neighborhoods in West Rapid. It was walking distance to two grocery stores. The bike path was close. Once gambling came in a lot of businesses left, we lost a grocery and the place started a slow decline. The cost of gambling was the decline of a neighborhood. Of course, bad city planning was also involved. We had a little neighborhood group that partnered with the RC Police Department. We wanted the city to control the gambling. They just let it run wild.

  16. Porter Lansing 2021-05-26

    Thanks to the intellectually elite among this group for taking time to explain.

    It’s always a pleasure to be part of this blog.

    I believe that, in short, SD’s gambling is tri-furcated.

    Part is done by private enterprise, part is done by the state, and part is done by individuals acting as sports bookies and holding private card games.

    All happen because the Catholic caucus in Pierre hasn’t decided to declare any of them unconstitutional or released law enforcement to stop the illegal parts.

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