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SD Lottery Commission repeals 1991 restriction on promotions

Establishments will have more flexibility to promote video play

PIERRE — Managers of video lottery businesses in South Dakota will have a much freer hand to offer promotions as part of a state strategy to increase betting activity and make more money from players.

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The South Dakota Lottery Commission voted 6-1 Wednesday to repeal a 1991 restriction and open the way for a new promotions policy.

Five commissioners voted 3-2 two weeks ago to repeal the 1991 ruling. It was subsequently learned, after a reporter raised questions, that a majority of the seven appointed members was necessary.

“We didn’t have that,” Norm Lingle, the lottery’s director, said Wednesday at the start of a special meeting to reconsider the matter.

Clark Hepper, the assistant director, said the new promotions policy is “an integral part” of the strategic plan for video lottery.

Hepper said establishments will have freedom to run promotions for specific customers and the promotional prizes won’t be considered part of the payout.

The rules for the promotions need to be posted in the establishments and the promotions need to be conducted with “decency, dignity, honesty and good taste” so they don’t reflect badly on the lottery, Hepper said.

Commission member Doyle Estes, of Hill City, said the new policy “is certainly open to broad discretion” and he wanted objective regulations adopted before “taking the cap off” the 23-year-old declaratory ruling.

Commissioner Chuck Turbiville, of Deadwood, said Estes made some good points but a long list of things would be needed. Turbiville said he hopes operators would use good sense.

Turbiville said he knows of many places in South Dakota where video lottery machines are present and there are happy hours, food giveaways, prizes, ladies nights “and things like that.”