OUR VIEW: Gambling revenue needs boost, but not from addictsWe are all for boosting gambling revenue in South Dakota, but we hope it is done tastefully, and without taking advantage of the people who may have a problem with gambling addiction.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
We generally have been against increases in lotteries, lotto games and video lottery gaming in general.
Whereas we don’t mind the number of such games and devices already present in the state, we haven’t felt there is a great need to add to the gambling menu, so to speak.
By no means are we against gambling. We, too, have been known to play a lottery ticket, drop a few bucks in a local video lottery machine or enjoy an evening on Main Street in Deadwood.
But when all of these options already exist, why make changes or increases that further tantalize people who may have a gambling problem?
At least that’s been our opinion over the years.
Thursday, The Daily Republic reported that South Dakota lottery officials are developing a strategy to help boost revenue for video gambling establishments, which have reported declining revenue since a smoking ban went into effect in South Dakota.
Among the ideas are machines that offer “penny play” — or gambling for one cent — and payouts greater than the present 92 percent. Also, cash acceptors for $50 and $100 bills could become reality, and a new person could be hired to better help develop state lottery strategies.
The problem is that gambling revenue is down, and that’s painful not only to the lottery establishments but also the state, which takes a cut. We reported Thursday that net machine income is running at 1996 levels.
Is it because of the smoking ban or simply because of the economic downturn? That’s debatable, we suppose, but arguments could be made for both.
Of the new ideas, we especially like the “penny play” plan. It is one that could instantly generate more traffic in lottery establishments.
We also like the idea of hiring a new deputy lottery director. The right person could bring new ideas and focus mostly on new revenue. The position would pay for itself.
We aren’t so excited about $100 acceptors. We feel gambling, albeit a major contributor to our economy, should still be promoted and advertised as entertainment. Adding large-bill acceptors seems to hint at something bigger than just a casual pastime.
It’s good to have these talks, and perhaps some new ideas can get revenue back to more appropriate and acceptable levels. Lottery establishment owners deserve a chance to get back some of that lost revenue, and the state needs it, too.
We are all for boosting gambling revenue in South Dakota, but we hope it is done tastefully, and without taking advantage of the people who may have a problem with gambling addiction.