Repeal of S.D. bingo tax and fees moves forward

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A legislative panel has given its endorsement to removing South Dakota’s licensing fees and 5% tax on sales of bingo equipment and supplies.

The South Dakota Senate is scheduled to consider the measure on Tuesday afternoon. If senators agree, it would move to the House of Representatives for further action.

Governor Kristi Noem said in her State of the State message that the repeal is one of the ways she wants to reduce government’s burden on South Dakotans at a time of unexpected economic prosperity.

Jason Evans, representing the state Department of Revenue, was the lone witness to testify at the bill’s hearing Friday morning by the Senate Taxation Committee.

He referred to it as “the now famous, WORLD-FAMOUS, bingo tax.”

Evans explained that the several laws that would be repealed also include a $2,500 licensing fee for manufacturers and a $5,000 licensing fee for distributors.

He said the distributors are responsible for remitting revenue from the 5% percent tax.

The department spends a lot of time and energy on something that doesn’t add a lot to state government’s bottom line, according to Evans.

The fees generated $20,000 and the tax $12,000 in 2021. Evans compared those amounts to the $45,000 in fees and $34,000 in tax received in 1996, the year he joined the department.

Other forms of legal “gaming” — his word — have cut into bingo’s popularity, Evans said. He stressed that the repeal wouldn’t affect any other state regulations or penalties for bingo.

Senator Joshua Klumb, R-Mitchell, called for the committee to back the repeal.

“This makes sense. It’s not used any more. Whenever we repeal a tax it’s a good day,” Klumb said.

The seven senators gave their unanimous blessing and put the bill on the Senate consent calendar for Tuesday. Any senator wanting to talk about it can have it delayed a day so that it can be debated.

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