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Deadwood gaming poised to end 2013 on decline

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Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

DEADWOOD (AP) — New statistics from the South Dakota Commission on Gaming say that Deadwood’s gambling industry is poised to show a moderate decline in revenue for 2013.

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Gross revenue for the year through November is down 3.26 percent, dropping by more than $3 million, the Rapid City Journal reported.

Slot machine revenue, which makes up the bulk of Deadwood gambling dollars, is off nearly 4 percent this year, falling to $86.6 million from $90.2 million in 2012.

“That’s a big concern because slot play is 90 percent of our business,” said Mike Rodman of the Deadwood Gaming Association. “Obviously, we’ve lost customers coming to Deadwood and that’s our primary concern. We need to change what we’re doing and recapture that market that we’ve lost to competitive jurisdictions.”

Table game play provided the lone bright spot, with revenues up 7.64 percent, or slightly more than $320,000, from last year.

Rodman attributes that to a 2012 bet limit increase in South Dakota.

“The $1,000 bet limit created some excitement for table game play, regardless of what players are actually wagering,” Rodman said. “Players at the tables generate revenue, and changed perceptions have increased play.”

Officials have said that Deadwood is still feeling the lingering effects of an early October blizzard, which likely will skew December’s gambling numbers as well, as cleanup costs impacted everybody on the western side of the state.

Rodman said he’s optimistic about the future of Deadwood gambling in light of recent legislative approval for wide-area progressive slots and pending action by the 2014 state Legislature that will consider a statewide vote on the addition of roulette, craps and keno. He said the year isn’t over yet.

“December is always about what happens between Christmas and New Year’s,” Rodman noted.

“We’ve got some snow, attracting skiers and snowmobilers, and room reservations look strong, so we’re optimistic about the remainder of the year.”

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Associated Press
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