Bets at Deadwood casinos were down 20 percent in March compared to the same time last year.
The new numbers show Deadwood casinos handled about $69 million last month. That’s about $17 million less than the casinos handled the previous March.
Mike Rodman is executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association. He said the numbers reflect the citywide shutdown of casinos on March 25 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Twenty percent of the month we were closed down, and we were down 20 percent in revenue,” Rodman said.
The first few months of the year had been strong, and so had March until the shutdown, Rodman added.
The Deadwood City Commission is considering allowing casinos to reopen under restrictions. For example, casinos could run slot machines but not table games, and gamblers would have to stay 6 feet apart. A first reading of an ordinance with the new restrictions was scheduled for Monday evening.
Deadwood casinos had been unable to apply for the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program until last week, when the U.S. Small Business Administration changed its rules. The rules had excluded businesses that make more than a third of their revenue from gambling.
The casinos may now apply to the program, which offers forgivable loans to businesses that have 500 or fewer employees and use a substantial portion of the money to rehire or retain employees.