Deadwood gambling revenue sets record in 2012
DEADWOOD, S.D. (AP) -- Deadwood brought in more gambling revenue than ever last year, despite the gaming industry's warnings that the late 2010 smoking ban would keep gamblers away from the casinos.
Gambling revenue in the western South Dakota city of Deadwood set a record last year but debate over the impact of the statewide smoking ban continues.
Figures from the state Commission on Gaming show that the western South Dakota city's gross gambling 2012 revenue was $107.4 million, exceeding 2011's $100.9 million and 2010's $106.2 million, the Rapid City Journal reported.
The gaming industry largely blamed the smoking ban that took effect in November 2010 for the drop in revenue in 2011. The 2012 figures show it is time to stop blaming the smoking ban every time there is a dip in revenue, said Lead-Deadwood Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Chuck Turbiville.
"Perhaps the smoking ban in the long run has helped the casinos," he said.
Saloon owner Louie Lalonde said the smoking ban has helped more than it has hurt because it has made way for new clientele.
"It opened the door to people who for years and years couldn't come down and wouldn't come down," she said.
Deadwood Gaming Association President Tom Nelson said he is not ready to concede that casinos have overcome the smoking ban.
"We continue to struggle to get back to the sustained numbers that were enjoyed prior to the smoking ban and the economic downturn," he said.
A state law that took effect last July increased table betting limits form $100 to $1,000 to help keep Deadwood gambling viable. The 2012 figures show that table game revenue jumped 17 percent.
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