S.D. paper lotto marks 25th anniversary, but video still reigns - KOTA Territory News

S.D. paper lotto marks 25th anniversary, but video still reigns

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The lottery has widespread appeal: Pay a couple dollars for the chance to win thousands, or even millions.
 
And though it's been mired in controversy since the outset, the South Dakota Lottery hits a milestone Sunday.

Twenty-five years ago, South Dakota sold its first instant lotto ticket.

A quarter century later, the games are going strong.
 
"Usually a lot every day," Ciesan Cable, a Big D store clerk, said of scratch ticket sales. "You could always win that retirement money."
 
But from what she sees, Cable said the five actual lottery games are much more popular.
 
"Probably because of the bigger prize."

The state Lottery Commission's latest report backs that up, showing about $8 million in state revenue from lotto tickets sales in fiscal 2011.

Scratchers came in at about $4.7 million.

But neither the scratchers nor the lotto drawings hold a candle to the video lottery.
 
"It's a big deal," said Lottery Commission vice president Doyle Estes.
 
Of the $100 million the lotto brings in annually, "92 to 95 percent of that revenue is generated through video lottery," he said.
 
In fiscal 2011, $95 million of the roughly $108 million in lotto revenue the state brought in came from video lottery.

And now the Commission wants to get even more out of them by replacing decades-old machines.
 
"The parts for those machines are no longer available," Estes said.
 
So at a meeting Friday, the Commission voted to look into encouraging the lotto industry to update its technology.
 
"The new machines generate 35 to 40 percent more play per day," he said.

Which would mean more money for the state's general fund, and a lot more for the property tax reduction fund, where most of the video lotto money goes.

At Friday's meeting, the Commission also approved a change allowing video machines to take $50 and $100 bills.

As profitable as it is though, video lottery has a long history of controversy in the state:
 
With the backing of the state legislature, video lottery machines hit the state in October 1989.
 
Just a few years later, voters rejected an amendment to ban video lottery machines. It would be the first of several such amendment votes.
 
In 1994, the state Supreme Court ruled the machines were unconstitutional, and shut them down in August.

They were back up and running not long after with a voter-approved amendment.
 
In 2000 and 2006, voters again rejected amendments to repeal video lottery machines in the state.
 
And most recently, the state lotto board claimed the smoking ban cut into video lottery profits.

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