Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Casinos and gambling dominate Deadwood's economy.
 Casinos and gambling dominate Deadwood's economy.
Black Hills Knowledge Network photo/Chelsea Gortmaker

Deadwood - Work & Economy

The City of Deadwood attracts millions of annual visitors. Gaming dominates Deadwood's economy, and has been given credit for revitalizing Deadwood’s tourism industry. In 2015, workers in the accomodation and food service industries accounted for more 26.8 percent of the city's total employed workforce of 712. Trade/transportation and utilities provided jobs for another 80 individuals (12.1 percent). Another 29 people worked for various levels of government, accounting for another 4.4 percent of the workforce. Major employers in Deadwood include the Northern Hills General Hospital, which had 132 people on staff and Lawrence County, which employed 120 people. To retrieve a profile of the Deadwood economy, visit the South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development.

Business Activity 

The Deadwood economy generated $3,188,131.48 in business activity subject to state sales tax in fiscal year 2015 (July 2014-June 2015). This represented an 8.05 percent increase over FY2015.

The city's largest sector, services, went up 3.6 percent, and retail trade dipped less than a half of a percent. The financial sector nearly tripled, from a bit more than $756,000 to nearly $2.2 million.

Find current month-by-month sales tax data on the South Dakota Department of Revenue website.

Tourism Tax

Lawrence County ranked 3rd in the state with $72,205,249 in real taxable tourism sales in 2016.  That amount represented 8.7 percent share of the state’s total. To see where other counties rank, see our chart on the South Dakota Dashboard.

The South Dakota Department of Revenue can provide more information on Tourism Tax in South Dakota.

Employment and Workforce

The proportion of adults, people between the ages of sixteen and sixty-four, working is 76.3 percent for the city of Deadwood. The largest occupations by share in Deadwood, are food & serving, janitorial, and retail, in that order.

Income & Wages

Median household income for the city of Deadwood was $35,417 according to the American Community Survey from 2011-2015. $36,250 is less than the median household income of Lawrence County of $51,553, and the United States of $55,775.


Of the population for whom poverty status is determined in Deadwood, there are approximately 114 people living in poverty. The poverty rate of Deadwood is 9.9 percent, less than both the South Dakota average of 13.7 percent and the United States average of 14.7 percent.

Commission on Gaming

The South Dakota Commission on Gaming, comprised of five commissioners, is responsible for regulating the gaming industry in the City of Deadwood, pari-mutuel horse racing and pari-mutuel wager, and administering Indian gaming compacts.

The Commission on Gaming maintains offices in Pierre and Deadwood and employs approximately 16 individuals, including investigators, auditors, accountants, administrative assistants, inspectors, and an executive secretary. To contact the Commission on Gaming click here.

The Commission is supported by the commission fund, which is comprised of revenues from annual device fees, licensing fees, other miscellaneous revenue and the gaming tax collected from Deadwood. By law, most of the money generated from these taxes and fees is distributed to the City of Deadwood and other local government bodies in Lawrence County.

All the above information can be found in the brochure provided by the South Dakota Department of Revenue.

More Information

For more data on the economies of South Dakota and the Black Hills, please check out our interactive graphs and charts on the South Dakota Dashboard.

Charts and Graphs

Below is a chart detailing the the gross sales by sector for Deadwood from May 2012 to April 2013.

Below is a graph showing the gross earnings from Penny Slots in Deadwood during the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Below is a graph showing the gross revenue from Blackjack in Deadwood during the 2010-2011 fiscal year.







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