SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sioux Falls City Council is set to vote on a couple of ordinances at their meeting Tuesday night regarding the amount of video lottery licenses allowed in the city and at establishments.
Council members Greg Neitzert and Rich Merkouris are sponsoring the ordinances that will be voted on Tuesday night. One would cap the amount of video lottery at malt beverage and wine establishments, and the other would firm up an existing ordinance.
In an email, Neitzert said there are over 200 total video lottery licenses in the city — 154 of which are for malt beverage and wine establishments. The rest are for liquor establishments, which the council does not have control over.
The first ordinance being voted on this week would cap the amount of video lottery licenses at 160 for malt beverage and wine establishments and allow one new license for every 5,000 in population growth.
The second ordinance would firm up a 2019 ordinance where a loophole allowed establishments to have multiple suites all in one building each with 10 video lottery machines apiece. The new ordinance would limit the number of suites with their own license that can be connected together to three, essentially allowing up to 30 lottery machines total. Neitzert said it’s a compromise and tries to give the industry some accommodation.
Neitzert and Merkouis were not available for an interview Sunday, but councilor Pat Starr says he expects some amendments to be offered before a vote. Starr says he was an intern in the state legislature when the video lottery first started in South Dakota.
“I think there’ll be some more discussion. I think we’ll hear more from the industry because again it was something that happened in the early 90s that really hasn’t seen adjustments in the maximum bet limit or the number of machines or the styles of machines,” he said.
Starr says the topic is a little bit controversial among council members.
“How do you regulate it without over-regulating it, and no one wants to kill the golden goose because it is a large tax incentive for the state to pay for things,” he said. “It’s balancing what statute says with our ordinances as a city, and I think the citizens that I’ve talked to have seen too many casino signs and too much expansion of gambling.”
Both ordinances will have a second reading and vote on Tuesday night. If passed, Neitzert says they will be enacted sometime in December.