In 1989, small stakes gambling was legalized in Deadwood  and revitalized the entire region. With over 80 gaming establishments in town, most of which are side by side on the two central streets of town, there are plenty of casinos to choose from. Gambling is limited to small stakes, with a betting limit of $100. Games offered include slot machines, blackjack, and poker. Many of the casinos are also hotel and dining establishments with very reasonable prices.
Be forewarned that smoking is allowed in all of the bars and casinos in town, though there are indications that this will eventually change. Anti-smoking campaigns have been defeated at the ballot box—by narrow margins. The entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places, and feels much as it did in the late 1800s with, of course, the addition of a lot of flashing lights.
The Midnight Star (677 Main St., 605/578-1555 or 800/999-6482, www.themidnightstar.com , daily 8 a.m.–2 a.m.) is a casino with strong Hollywood ties. Actor Kevin Costner has a stake the establishment. Costner filmed Dances with Wolves in the Northern Hills  and enjoyed the experience enough to invest in several businesses here. At the Midnight Star, the decor is elegant, with plenty of etched glass and polished brass, and the walls are lined with memorabilia from several of Costner’s movies. Look for the 10-foot-tall “Pharaoh’s Gold” machine. The payout on one pull of the handle is $50,000.
With less glitz but plenty of games, the Tin Lizzie (555 Main St., 605/578-1715 or 800/643-4490, www.tinlizzie.com , 24 hours daily) is a favorite of locals. When asked what makes it a local hangout, the most common response is “great people.” There are plenty of state-of-the-art slot machines and live blackjack games. The owners are well-known, active community members.
A favorite of gamblers is the Silverado-Franklin (709 Main St., 605/578-3670 or 800/584-7005, www.silveradofranklin.com , 24 hours daily), the largest casino on Main Street. The building doesn’t have the historic background of some of its neighbors, but it was built in 1933 by businessman W. E. Adams to house Hills Chevrolet. It was purchased and renovated by Silverado after the legalization of gambling. It’s almost as famous for its crab and prime rib buffet as for its large table gaming and poker rooms.
Opened in December 2009, the Lodge at Deadwood (100 Pine Crest Rd., 605/584-4800 or 877/393-5634, www.deadwoodlodge.com , 24 hours daily) is an elegant facility located about three-quarters of a mile from the downtown district. Nestled into the side of Mount Roosevelt, the lodge is best described as classy. Lots of natural stone, tile, and wood highlight all areas of the facility. The casino floor is spacious, with plenty of elbow room for gamblers. Over 300 games are available, including blackjack and poker.
The Lucky Nugget Gambling Hall (622 Main St., 605/578-1100, www.visitluckynugget.com , summer daily 9 a.m.–11 p.m., winter daily 10 a.m.–11 p.m.) aims to please gamblers and non-gamblers alike. The fun casino features four blackjack tables and has the largest poker room in Deadwood , with eight tables running and poker tournaments daily. There are cash prize drawings on the weekends, with awards given out every half-hour. The Lucky Nugget stands where the old Saloon No. 10 was located. The original Saloon No. 10, where Wild Bill Hickok was shot, burned to the ground in 1879, and when it was rebuilt, it moved across the street.
The Buffalo Bodega Complex (658 Main St., 605/578-1162, www.buffalo-bodega.com , summer Sun.–Thurs. 8 a.m.–midnight, Fri.–Sat. 8 a.m.–2 a.m., winter Sun.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–midnight, Fri.–Sat. 8 a.m.–2 a.m.) has three casinos and a blackjack room. The complex was completely remodeled in 2007. In addition to the casinos, there is a nice lounge, saloon, and restaurant on-site.