South Dakota's video lottery is making a comeback. After the state implemented a smoking ban, video lottery revenue took a big hit. But Tuesday, the governor said during his budget address that video lottery receipts are up.
Casino owners we talked with agree the numbers are up, but they don't agree with the governor as to why they're up.
When the statewide smoking ban went into affect, all bets were off if video lottery would survive.
"We are optimistic again, which you know we were having some hard times there," Chico of Stubbies Casino Bar & Grill said.
But things are looking up once again. However, Chico, who has talked with other casino owners, says it's not because of the new line games.
"When the smoking ban came into effect, we were in the middle of a recession. Fuel prices were a dollar higher per gallon and nowadays we're down around three bucks for gas locally. We're coming out of this recession and I believe that's more of a factor than the line games," Chico said.
And Chico says it's not just because we're coming out of a recession, but also because old habits die hard. He compared it to a diet.
"When you go on a diet, you stick to a pattern and it seems like everyone falls off the wagon essentially and that's like when this smoking ban and recession came in. We were told, 'This is how it's going to be,' and now we are adapting to these new situations and dealing with them and people are finding the convenience of video lottery right there in front of them," Chico said.
Meaning, gamblers now have an appetite for video lottery once again.
Chico also says he thinks the novelty of the Grand Falls Casino in Iowa has worn off as well.