OUR VIEW: State study on gambling is overdue
A good idea comes our way from Pierre, where lottery officials are proposing a comprehensive study on gambling addiction in South Dakota.
If it happens, it would be the first such study in 15 years in our state, which relies heavily on proceeds from gambling.
But some members of the state Legislature see a problem: letting the South Dakota Lottery conduct the study seems akin to "the fox guarding the henhouse," in the words of Rep. Scott Craig, R-Rapid City.
Let's first note that a study like this is overdue. We have said many times we're not against gambling, but we are against expansion of gambling. We feel it's irresponsible of state government to constantly look at ways to increase gambling revenue, and we have been vocal with our concerns. We know of people who are desperately addicted and have ruined their lives over gambling. The state needs to be cognizant of such things.
And then earlier this year, Lottery Commission Executive Director Norm Lingle told a Senate committee that video lottery revenue in the state is stagnant, and that "we need to get the younger folks involved."
We don't agree whatsoever with that thinking. We understand that gambling and the lottery mean jobs in South Dakota, and we're all for keeping it where it's at. But expansion is another story, and peddling it to a younger generation is just distasteful.
So yes, we do agree that a study on gambling addiction would be helpful as South Dakota considers what to do with gambling in the future. And yes, we definitely side with Rep. Craig on this one -- the study should happen, but it should be conducted by an outside, independent agency.
It's the responsible thing to do.