Deadwood, South Dakota Is Alive as Multiple Casinos Reopen

Posted on: May 9, 2020, 09:12h. 

Last updated on: May 10, 2020, 12:00h.

Several casinos in Deadwood, South Dakota are now open, and players are once again gambling, as safety precautions were put in place to block the spread of coronavirus.

Deadwood Casinos Reopen
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem ordered tribes in the state to cease coronavirus checkpoints. Many casinos reopened recently in Deadwood. (Image: Associated Press/Jeff Easton)

Many gaming venues reopened on Thursday after the Deadwood City Commission voted to permit local businesses to resume operations. They must follow safety guidelines in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association, told the Rapid City Journal, “People are just happy the properties reopened.

There are people slowly coming back to the properties and dealing with the new policies and procedures for social distancing,” Rodman explained to the local newspaper.

Also, Caleb Arceneaux, CEO of LIV Hospitality, which manages the hotels at Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort and Cadillac Jack’s, said business has gone well during the reopening process.

“We certainly experienced an increase in hotel occupancy and saw a steady stream of players,” Arceneaux told the Journal.

Among the safeguards, gamblers must keep a space the size of two slot machines between players. Table games are restricted to between two and four players.

Hand sanitizer stations are found throughout the casino. There is also stepped-up cleaning and sanitization.

As far as masks, guests do not have to wear one. But many choose to, the news report said. Employees at table games do need to wear face masks.

Some 70 percent of workers reported for work on Thursday. The full workforce will likely return to their jobs within 10-14 days.

Tables were relocated in casino restaurants and bars to keep sufficient space. Workers and guests who are sick or have a fever are advised not to enter the venue, the Journal adds.

“The safety and security of our guests and associates are paramount,” Arceneaux said.

Also, David Schneiter, general manager of Cadillac Jack’s, said play on Thursday at the casino was “better than a typical Thursday,” the Journal reported. “A lot of people are excited to come back in.”

As of Friday, about a dozen venues which offer gaming were open in Deadwood. Many others will reopen later this month.

Drop in Gaming Revenue During March

In March, gaming revenue seen by the Deadwood Gaming Association declined 20.14 percent when compared to March 2019, according to the Journal. Slots were down over 18 percent, while table games dropped over 44 percent.

As the numbers reflect, Deadwood’s economy was on pace with last year until March 25, when our world changed with the COVID-19 pandemic and Deadwood shut down,” Rodman told the Journal. “The loss in just gaming revenue for Deadwood’s gaming properties was over $1.5 million for the last seven days in March that we were closed.”

Deadwood Mayor David Ruth added that most of the city’s gaming revenue proceeds fund local historic preservation.

“As we make adjustments to our budgets, different departments have had to cut back,” the mayor added. “We’ve had to look at suspending operations on things. For instance, the trolley isn’t operating.”

Ruth also pointed out, “We just remind everyone to be safe and do their part. It’s starting to be summer and people are around, so we need to be able to start taking care of them safely.”

Coronavirus Tribal Checkpoints Must Be Dismantled

As of Friday, South Dakota saw 3,145 confirmed coronavirus cases. Some 31 deaths took place which were associated with COVID-19.

Also, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem recently ordered tribes to remove COVID-19 checkpoints on highways.