Most recent gambling numbers could point to a record year

Deadwood gaming
Deadwood gaming
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 11:01 PM CDT
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DEADWOOD, S.D. (KOTA) - In South Dakota, Deadwood is a legendary staple of the Black Hills, from the blackjack tables to the roulette wheel, and now the sports books, the town brings in huge revenue for the state.

It’s hard to think that South Dakota makes more money per person than Nevada when it comes to gambling, but it does.

In 2021, the state of Nevada made $13.4 billion from gambling according to When comparing that to their population of more than 3 million people at the time, the annual revenue per person was around $2.35. In comparison, South Dakota made $1.5 million dollars from gambling in 2021, and with a population of less than 900,000, the annual revenue per person was $5.96.

“That’s a surprising statistic to me, and I think that’s probably based on both Deadwood and Nevada being tourism destinations, and so I think it’s more of a correlation between the number of outside of South Dakota visitors that come in than anything else,” said Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood gaming association.

According to the March gaming revenue report, South Dakota’s gaming numbers are up more than 3% from the previous year. Sports wagering, however, is down more than 5%.

“March numbers were up, and that puts at almost two percent up for the year over last year, which was very close to a record year. And so right now we’re on pace to have a record gaming year if the trend continues,” Rodman continued.

An increase in gaming means an increase in revenue, supporting Deadwood and the state’s economy.

“Well obviously the distribution formula, of all of that revenue, 9% is paid out in taxes. It goes all across the state, whether it’s in-state tourism dollars, or whether it’s in historic preservation projects across the state, or whether it funds the city government and local school districts and local municipalities outside of Deadwood as well get some of that funding,” explained Rodman.

Rodman says the Deadwood Gaming Association is still optimistic and hopes to have a record year for 2023.