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Video lottery sites might get 15 machines

PIERRE -- The state Senate proved to be friendlier Wednesday to video lottery.

Senators voted 22-10 in favor of allowing establishments to have 15 of the gambling machines.

The limit since 1989 has been 10. The additional machines would need to use new technology, according to Sen. Dan Lederman, R-Dakota Dunes.

Lederman is prime sponsor of SB 180. The proposal now heads to the House of Representatives where an increase in the bet limit for video lottery was rejected 40-28 on Tuesday.

Video lottery has lost ground in the South Dakota gaming market. From 2002 to 2012 there was a decrease from 60 percent to 42 percent, according to a study performed last year for the state Lottery Commission.

New “line-up” games produce nearly $16 more per day more than the old games, according to Lederman.

Speaking against the 15-machine legislation was Sen. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center. He referred to “the devastation that has been brought to families” by suicides, attempted suicides, embezzlement and cashed-out retirement.

“If the industry can’t survive because the numbers have dwindled, I say: Let it be,” Rhoden said.

Sen. Ried Holien, R-Watertown, said other establishments would still be open, such as Deadwood and tribal casinos, if video lottery went away.

State government receives 50 percent of the net machine income and provides money for addiction treatment.

“This bill would actually help address the problem and help the state of South Dakota,” Holien said.

Sen. Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton, said video lottery businesses are asking to address their problem by giving establishments the flexibility to add machines.