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Video lottery $2 bet limit targeted for elimination

PIERRE -- State rules for video lottery would change in ways big and small under proposals the South Dakota Lottery Commission will consider Friday, and much bigger changes are on the horizon.

The commission received one set of written comments so far on the current proposals. That opposition came from JoDean Joy, of Miller, long one of video lottery's leading critics. Joy questions the necessity of requiring gambling terminals approved after July 1, 2013, to accept $50 and $100 bills. She said that change would let people lose more money faster and would be "very detrimental" to someone addicted to gambling.

"It would seem that since government is supposed to protect the citizens, that you -- as a department of government -- would do everything in your power to keep addicts from quickly losing more money," Joy said.

The commission is looking for ways to increase video lottery play. State government receives one-half of the money lost by players in the privately owned machines.

In separate action, the commissioners are scheduled to discuss changing several declaratory rulings affecting video lottery regarding seating requirements and the 92 percent payout ceiling. Those proposals are pieces of a long-range strategy the commission is forming for video lottery.

The plan, which will be discussed Friday, also calls for changes by the Legislature such as allowing for penny play and removing the $2 bet limit.

The commissioners further intend to look at allowing machine manufacturers to eventually offer high-stakes progressive jackpots through video lottery terminals, similar to the progressive games offered through slot machines at casinos.

The plan suggests the South Dakota Lottery could offer financial assistance programs to help businesses purchase new video lottery equipment.

The plan also suggests that state lottery officials could market video lottery to players through advertising and promotions, whether independently or in cooperation with businesses.

Commissioners also will consider Friday revising various sections of instant-ticket and lotto-game rules, including elimination of the old Tri-West, Daily Millions, Cash 4 Life and Rolldown games.

The public hearing is scheduled to start at 10:15 a.m. CDT Friday in room 412 of the state Capitol.

Video lottery is currently forecast to produce $92.8 million for state government during the 2013 budget year that began July 1. The most-recent data shows 9,138 terminals in operation at 1,443 establishments.

Revenue through the first 10 weeks was running about 6 percent ahead of the same point one year ago.