DEADWOOD | This year’s seemingly endless encroachment of winter into spring shoulders at least some of the blame for “disappointing” March gaming numbers at Deadwood casinos, compared to the same period in 2017, according to statistics released Tuesday by the South Dakota Commission on Gaming.
The March 2018 gaming handle showed a decrease of 4.60 percent, with slot machine handle decreasing by 5.33 percent when compared to March 2017.
According to a release from the Deadwood Gaming Association, March table game handle showed a 5.99 percent increase when compared to March 2017 numbers.
Deadwood gaming operators rewarded players with $1,422,684 in "free-play" for the month of March, leaving taxable adjusted gross revenues of $8,364,068 for March 2018.
"We are disappointed to have another down month of gaming revenues in 2018, although this was somewhat expected, giving March’s weather in Deadwood last month," said Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association.
"We are thankful for the jump in hotel occupancy for the month of March, however and believe we can turn around the 1.82 decrease in gaming revenues so far for 2018.”
Deadwood hotel occupancy rates for March 2018 were up 3.01 percent when compared with March 2017 numbers, according to monthly data released Monday by the Deadwood City Finance Office.
Hotels in Deadwood had an occupancy rate of 41.59 percent for March 2018, compared to 38.56 percent in March of 2017.
Those March statistics shows Deadwood hotels sold 1,425 more room nights this March than the same month in 2017, but still leaving plenty of room, so to speak, for improvement, Rodman said.
"Deadwood's March occupancy rate increase of 3.01% is better than the national hotel occupancy rate increase in March of 0.9%," said Rodman.
"However, Deadwood's overall occupancy rate was far below the national occupancy rate of 68.5 percent for March 2018, leaving the industry with opportunities for growth,” he said.
One bright spot for the month was a late booking at the Deadwood Mountain Grand for a Showtime Boxing: Special Edition fight card.
The card had originally been slated for a casino in Louisiana, but was changed to the DMG, which hosted its first sports event and the first championship boxing match in Deadwood if not the state of South Dakota. The event was televised live, and drew a good crowd in spite of the limited time to sell tickets.
Talks are underway for additional Showtime Boxing events, Rodman said.