S.D. lottery sales are rocketing

Capitol News Bureau
KELO South Dakota Lottery Logo.png.jpg

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Lottery Commission is looking at the best year yet.

The panel received numbers Thursday that point to total revenue surpassing $193 million by June 30, 2022. That would be $30 million more than the $163 million posted for the past year.

State government runs on a July 1 – June 30 budget.

“Everything we’ve heard today, it’s really growth,” commissioner Jamie Huizenga of Pierre said. “It’s an enjoyable position to sit up here during these times.”

Sales of instant scratch tickets and jackpot lotto tickets in recent months have run above levels of the past two years.

And video lottery is forecast to finish at about $178 million as state government’s share. That would be $29 million ahead of last year.

Money lost by video-lottery players in South Dakota is split between the machine owners and state government.

“We’ve very appreciative of the operators out in the field,” chairman Bill Shorma of Dakota Dunes said. “They’re being rewarded for their efforts as well.”

Several things seem to be helping drive video lottery’s growth. There are more terminals — 9,535 vs. 9,112 — and the machines are in more establishments — 1,261 vs. 1,232.

There’s also the continuing spread, both in number and return, between old-style legacy machines and new line-type terminals.

In October 2020, there were 4,776 legacy and 4,193 line. Legacies averaged $52.17 per day while the lines did $94.69.

Two Octobers later, legacies were down to 4,009 while lines had grown to 5,526. Legacies averaged $64.52, while lines were bringing in $116.89.

Lottery director Norm Lingle said operators had been buying roughly 400 new machines per year but last year bought around 850. Jordan Kitts, who oversees security and video lottery, told the commission that 298 new machines had been purchased just since July.

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