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Deadwood casinos see first downturn in 18 months, report shows

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Downtown Deadwood

A look down Deadwood's Main Street while it rains Oct. 8, 2021.

Deadwood's casinos saw their first downturn in March, following 18 months of near-record results.

According to a report from the South Dakota Commission on Gaming, the March gaming handle decreased 6.52% compared to March 2021. The report shows gamblers put nearly $122 million in slot machines, $7.3 million in chip purchases for table games, and $975,347 in sports bets.

In all, visitors to Deadwood's casinos spent more than $130 million on wagers and chip purchases in March.

"Despite a new monthly record on sports wagering, thanks to March Madness, Deadwood’s overall gaming slowed in March,” said Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association. "Deadwood, like the rest of the country, is experiencing the effects of the national economic downturn.”

Slot machine handle saw the largest decrease in March when compared to March 2021. The decrease was 7.38% less than the previous year on Deadwood's 2,634 machines. Deadwood's 86 table games saw a 4.47% decrease when compared to March 2021, the report showed.

Sports wagering included $975,347.25 in March's handle and a statistical win of $32,388.72. Most bets were placed on NCAA men's basketball during March Madness, followed by NBA games.

The casinos had a taxable adjusted gross revenue of more than $11.7 million in March, with $1,055,441.39 in taxes due to various state, county and local government entities.

Through the first three months of 2022, gamblers in Deadwood have spent more than $350 million on wagers and chip purchases, an increase of 2.36% over 2021.

So far in 2022, slot machines handled nearly $327 million, a 1.91% increase over the same time period in 2021. Table games saw just over $21 million in chip purchases, which is lower than 2021, showing a 2.43%% decline through March. Sports wagering year-to-date is nearly $2.5 million.

Total casino handle is up for the year by 2.36%, with $350 million in bets placed and chip purchases year-to-date.

The report showed casinos rewarded players with more than $1.5 million in "free play" during March.

Contact Nathan Thompson at

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