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S.D. Lottery considers adding Mega Millions

Mar 23, 2010, 7:51 pm

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South Dakota

The South Dakota Lottery Commission is preparing to add another lotto game.

The commissioners will hold a rules hearing on Friday to decide whether South Dakota should join 37 other states that offer Mega Millions, billed as "America's biggest jackpot game."

South Dakota Lottery Director Norman Lingle declined a request for an interview Monday, according to lottery spokeswoman Kelly Thompson.

"Much of what you're asking will be answered in the presentation he is making to the commissioners and it's his preference that they get the information first and the public hearing is held before the story appears in the media," Thompson said.

The four sets of questions were:

  • Why add another lotto game, and why this specific game?
  • Will the new game replace Powerball, or any other existing game in South Dakota?
  • If it's not a replacement, what effects do you expect on sales of Powerball and other lotto games currently offered by the South Dakota Lottery?
  • What do you anticipate for revenue from the new game?

South Dakota is one of 41 states that currently sells tickets for the Powerball jackpot game. The Multi-State Lottery Association administers both the Mega Millions and Powerball games.

Five of South Dakota's neighboring states already offer both Powerball and Mega Millions. Wyoming is the only neighbor where neither game is allowed.

South Dakota also sanctions three smaller lotto games. They are Dakota Cash, Wild Card 2 and Hot Lotto.

The proposed change comes in the wake of the state treasury receiving less Lottery revenue in 2009 than the previous year.

The 2008 lotto proceeds were $6,511,689 to the general fund and capital construction fund, while the 2009 proceeds were $5,895,624. Total sales also fell from $21,751,845 in 2008 to $20,864,968 in 2009.

Prior to 2009, lotto revenue was on a steady upward march. The downturn for lotto last year was part of a broader slowdown in South Dakota Lottery activity.

Scratch-ticket proceeds fell from $5,088,644 in 2008 to $4,143,568 in 2009, with sales taking a corresponding, drop too.

And video lottery revenue likewise slipped from $114 million to $111.9 million.

The Lottery Commission's rules hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:45 a.m. Friday in room 413 of the state Capitol.

The new rules would need clearance from the Legislature's rules review committee before they could take effect.

Mega Millions lottery information is available at USA Mega (www.usamega.com).

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