Published: March 24, 2022

South Dakota Lottery sales still rising, powered by new terminals

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — There hasn’t been a downturn, yet, in money gambled on the South Dakota Lottery.

Instead, state government’s share from video lottery, instant tickets and lotto appears headed to another record high, according to the sales numbers presented Thursday to the South Dakota Lottery Commission.

State government’s budget runs July 1 to June 30, and for the eight months through February 28, net machine income from video lottery climbed 15%, while instant ticket sales were up more than 6%. Even lotto sales rose more than 1%.

“We have some pretty exciting things happening here with our sales,” Clark Hepper, the lottery’s deputy director, said.

He acknowledged South Dakota is seeing some of the same slowdown that other lotteries are experiencing across the nation. In South Dakota’s case, the challenge is how to top last year’s record-shattering performance.

The governor’s budget forecast from back in December noted, “In FY2020 and FY2021, video lottery receipts were $115.3 million and $147.8 million, respectively.” The report projected $152.3 million from video this year. But the number the commission saw Thursday was $171.1 million.

Likewise for instant tickets. The lottery’s latest projection is just shy of $6.3 million, up from $5.1 million last year. As for lotto, which traditionally sees sales rise as jackpots go up, the lottery expects them to hit $8.5 million, compared to just under $8 million last year.

Helping drive the growth of video lottery has been establishments adding more of the modern-style terminals. According to Jordan Kitts, the lottery’s director of security and video lottery, the modern line games bring in an average of $116 per day, while the old-style terminals average $66.

Kitts said line games now comprise 59% of the 9,471 terminals and generate 71% of net machine income. The lottery and the private owners of the terminals split net machine income.

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