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Our View: Make statement with state raffle

Scratch tickets. Powerball. Dakota Cash. Wildcard Lotto. Video lottery machines at every turn. American Indian casinos. Deadwood. South Dakota sure has come a long way since it first gave the OK to gambling, in the form of scratch tickets back in...

Scratch tickets. Powerball. Dakota Cash. Wildcard Lotto. Video lottery machines at every turn. American Indian casinos. Deadwood.

South Dakota sure has come a long way since it first gave the OK to gambling, in the form of scratch tickets back in 1987. These days, our gambling choices are so numerous -- proven by the aforementioned list -- that we fear we've become callous to the industry in general.

Are all of those forms of gambling bad? We don't think so. It's just that somewhere, somehow, the growth in gambling opportunities must be checked.

A prime opportunity has arisen for state lottery officials, who next month will hold a hearing on whether or not to offer a special state raffle, which is proposed to mark the 20th anniversary of South Dakota Lottery.

First, must we really have a special event to celebrate the birth of South Dakota gambling?

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And second, don't we have plenty of reminders already?

The special raffle that is being proposed would cost $10 per ticket, with a top prize of $250,000. At present, South Dakota does not operate a state raffle game.

Sales would begin on Sept. 30, the anniversary date of the first scratch ticket sale in South Dakota back in 1987. The drawing would be held on New Year's Eve.

Gambling is a powerful industry in South Dakota. Since it began in 1989, video lottery alone has provided more than $1 billion in revenue to the state. While many feel gambling is wrong and should be outlawed, many others believe gambling is a form of entertainment that, when enjoyed in moderation, is perfectly OK.

We're not saying that purchasing a scratch lottery ticket or dropping a few bucks into a video lottery machine is wrong.

It's just that celebrating the anniversary of gambling with yet another gambling gimmick seems excessive. South Dakota keeps pushing the envelope, adding more choices and flouting gambling in the faces of the many state residents who feel is it morally wrong.

Eventually, somebody has to declare that enough is enough -- that we have reached our limit of gambling options.

This is an opportune time.

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