The Deleterious Effects of Video Lottery

Resolutions passed by the Legislature have no weight of law, but simply send a message from the body. Here is one from week 9 that deserves the spotlight:

HR1006 “Recognizing the deleterious effects of gambling and video lottery.”

A RESOLUTION, Recognizing the deleterious effects of gambling and video lottery.

WHEREAS, at the time of statehood, in 1889, the framers of the Constitution of South Dakota recognized the dangers inherent in gambling and sagaciously prohibited the activity under any pretense or for whatever purpose; and

WHEREAS, approximately a century later, an insatiable desire for revenue opened the door to gambling, including a lottery that is devoted to the operation of state government and then video lottery; and

WHEREAS, more than 1,300 video lottery casinos are now situated across this state; and

WHEREAS, video lottery annually contributes between eighty-eight and one hundred ten million dollars to the coffers of this state, thereby accounting for six to seven percent of the state’s annual revenue; and

WHEREAS, video lottery is often referred to as the crack cocaine of gambling because it is recognized as the most addictive form of gambling; and

WHEREAS, South Dakota is now estimated to have between 13,000 and 26,000 pathological gamblers; and

WHEREAS, South Dakota now has the undesirable distinction of being ranked second in the nation with respect to gambling addiction; and

WHEREAS, research indicates that the annual cost to a state for each pathological gambler is in excess of fourteen thousand dollars; and

WHEREAS, crime statistics confirm significant increases in armed robbery, burglary, theft, embezzlement, and family violence, as well as suicide, since the institution of video lottery; and

WHEREAS, since the institution of video lottery, the exorbitant and ever-increasing social costs associated with this form of gambling have taken their toll both directly and indirectly on individuals, on families, on our businesses and communities, and on the health and well being of our state:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the House of Representatives of the Ninety-Fourth Legislature of the State of South Dakota, that the Legislature recognizes the deleterious effects of gambling and particularly of video lottery and that the Legislature invites and encourages the Governor and representatives of various public and private sector entities to join together for the purpose of responsibly reducing and ultimately eliminating this state’s reliance on revenues that are generated through the video lottery and other forms of addictive gambling.