PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — State lawmakers will be asked to down-size the South Dakota Lottery Commission to five seats from the present seven, the lottery’s head said Thursday.
Five seats are currently filled. South Dakota Lottery executive director Norm Lingle told commission members he plans to request the change. The Legislature opens the 2020 session January 14.
Lingle said broader state laws on conflicts of interest and other restrictions in recent years present “a real challenge” for governors seeking citizens to serve on state boards and commissions.
He said a five-person panel overseeing the lottery would fall in line with the South Dakota Commission on Gaming that has five seats. Both of the commissions and agencies operate under the state Department of Revenue.
Lingle said he hopes the Legislature provides “very little resistance” to the change.
He also reported the audited figures from the past budget year that ended June 30. Sales rose for all three types of lottery products.
Scratch-off instant ticket sales totaled $32.24 million, up 8.1 percent, and $6.9 million was transferred to the state treasury, a 7.8 percent increase.
Lotto sales for jackpot drawings climbed by 11.8 percent to $30.7 million, with $8.26 million split among several state-government accounts.
State government’s 49.5 percent share from privately-owned video lottery terminals grew to nearly $114 million, a 4.5 percent increase.
Lottery commission member David Wheeler of Huron praised the lottery’s staff for its work. Wheeler said the growth was a bright spot in an otherwise tight revenue picture Governor Kristi Noem sketched for lawmakers and the public Tuesday in the annual budget speech.
Commissioner Jamie Huizenga of Pierre spoke highly of the staff and the thousands of employees who work at the hundreds of South Dakota businesses that sell lottery products.
“It’s a big part of our economy,” Huizenga said.