Revenue drops for non-Indian casino operators
Gambling revenue at American Indian casinos in South Dakota grew during 2011 while other gambling revenue in the state plunged to a six-year low, according to a new report.
The year covered by the report was the first full year of a statewide smoking ban implemented in late 2010. Tribal casinos do not have to enforce the ban.
Chuck Turbiville, executive director of the Deadwood Economic Development Corp., said the smoking ban could be one reason for the disparity in revenue.
“We knew prior to the smoking ban that it would have a negative effect on gaming numbers, and it did,” Turbiville said.
“It showed a huge drop in Deadwood gaming, not only in the number of visitors that were coming to our casinos, but also in the gaming revenue. Video lottery took a bigger hit than Deadwood did in terms of revenue.”
The total revenue of all gaming operations during 2011 in South Dakota was $423.4 million, according to the 2013-2014 edition of Casino City’s North American Gaming Almanac, issued this week, and Casino City’s previously released Indian Gaming Industry Report. Gaming revenue is defined as the operators’ total handle minus prizes paid.
Before 2011, total gaming revenue in the state was more than $430 million each year dating to 2005. It peaked in 2008 at $444.8 million. In 2009, it dropped to $444.2 million, and it fell again in 2010 to $432.2 million.
The drop in 2011 came in commercial gaming, which is gambling at non-American Indian casinos, card rooms, lottery and racing. Commercial gaming revenue was $315.4 million in 2011, which was $12.5 million less than the previous year. It was the first time since 2004 that commercial gaming revenue did not exceed $320 million.
Meanwhile, gaming at American Indian casinos in South Dakota was up in 2011 by about 3.5 percent to $108 million. That’s a 10-year high and the fourth straight year of at least $100 million in gaming revenue at American Indian casinos.
According to Casino City’s Indian Gaming Industry Report, which was released in February, “Many Native American tribes continued to invest in their gaming operations by remodeling, upgrading and expanding in 2011, particularly with respect to non-gaming amenities.”