JoDean Joy of Miller raised her voice again recently in a letter to Gov. Dennis Daugaard, just as she had to the four previous governors. Joy led a still-unsuccessful war to outlaw video lottery in South Dakota, in part because of her family’s experience. Her argument is video lottery costs South Dakota in many ways.
One of the points she made in the Dec. 20 letter – that South Dakota doesn’t spend enough to counter gambling addiction – seems to be contradicted by practice, however.
Norm Lingle, executive director for the South Dakota Lottery, told members of his state commission last week that South Dakota treatment money doesn’t get fully spent.
Lingle said his office makes up to $214,000 available each year to the state Department of Social Services for gambling addiction treatment.
“That number has been pretty steady over the last few years,” he said. “They haven’t accessed all of it.”
Maybe the gamblers are too addicted to read the 800-number ‘help available’ messages that scroll across the video lottery terminals, or too angry to notice when they leave the terminals after losing again.
The point is, the lottery isn’t set up to lose. Never has and never will.