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State to gamblers: Play more video lottery

By Bob Mercer

Capitol Correspondent

PIERRE — Administrators and the governing commission for the South Dakota Lottery gathered with dozens of business owners and operators the past two days to talk about the future of video lottery.

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They are looking for ways to make the old-style poker and keno games and the new wave of line-up games more inviting, in the hope that people will gamble more.

The bottom line goal is to increase revenue. State government takes one half of the money lost by players in the privately owned machines.

A recent study for the commission found video lottery had lost market share to other types of legal gambling in South Dakota during the past decade or so.

Many of the possible changes that were discussed Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning at the strategy meeting would require approval from the Legislature.

Others, such as approving table games and bar-top terminals, can be done through rule changes by the commission.

Commission member Chuck Turbiville, who is mayor of Deadwood, suggested that the Legislature be asked to make video lottery a topic for a special study next summer.

He said a legislative study would allow the commission and business people to tell the story of where video lottery stands after 25 years in South Dakota and what might renew interest.