House committee kills video lottery bill

Published: Feb. 26, 2020 at 9:04 AM CST
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The House State Affairs committee narrowly killed HB 1249, a bill brought by Rep. John Mills of Volga to end video lottery advertising in South Dakota.

The final 7-6 vote came Wednesday morning following several amendments and clashing ideas concerning whether or not the State of South Dakota should promote what proponents of the bill call a state sponsored ‘addiction.’

Mills testified that he felt ‘ashamed’ every time he encountered an ad supporting lottery in South Dakota. He and others compare video lottery to opioid addiction and other highly addictive behaviors.

Mills said, “Telling people that video lottery is ‘fun’ is wrong.”

A series of lobbyist representing the South Dakota Retailers Association, Beverage Industry, Music and Vendors Association, and the state school board association spoke against the bill.

Associated School Board lobbyist Dick Teizen reminded committee members that lottery revenues are used to fund education in South Dakota.

House Speaker Steven Hauggard fought back saying that lottery revenues are mixed in with general fund dollars and end up spread out across all of state government.

Before testimony wrapped up, committee members heard from Lottery Executive Director Norm Lingle that lottery machines were programmed to pay out between 80 and 92 percent.

Haugaard seized on the figures asking Lingle if the machines were designed to take 10 percent from everyone who plays.

Lingle didn’t bite but repeated the figures saying the state contracted with software vendors to ensure machines pay out between 80 and 92 percent.

In he end, the State Affairs committee split down the middle with Majority Leader Lee Qualm casting the determining vote to send HB 1249 to the 41st day effectively killing the bill.