RAPID CITY, SD -- The South Dakota Lottery will hold hearings on a proposal that would allow operators to add new games to, and expand the number of selections in, the state's 9,156 video lottery terminals.
Currently, VLTs have only poker, blackjack, keno and bingo. "Line" games and slot-style gameplay would be permissible under the proposed change.
Larry Mann, a lobbyist for the state operator association, said new games could help operators recover some of the revenues lost due to the state's new smoking ban. VLT revenues dropped 16% in the first four months after the ban took full effect, compared with the same period a year ago.
Operators have said the ban, expanded in 2009 to cover locations that serve alcohol, will cost South Dakota $20 million in annual tax revenues due to lower customer traffic and smaller collections in VLT locations. | SEE STORY
The lottery commission will consider game expansion proposals at a hearing on March 25. If approved, a legislative committee would have to sign off on the VLT game menu expansion. Game manufacturers would then submit new games to state regulators for approval prior to deployment.