All of a sudden Sioux Falls is concerned about gambling addiction?

Maybe we shouldn’t have VL casino’s on every f’ing corner in this city?

Under Iowa law, the Lyon County Resort & Casino will contribute a portion of its profits to the state of Iowa to help gamblers who become addicted. Yet most of its customers will see no benefit from that contribution because they are not Iowans.

Well duh. So how much money do casinos in SD put into a treatment fund? You would think it would be a lot considering how much money the state and PRIVATE business owners generate from the industry. Think again;

The division has an annual budget of $244,000 for such services, which comes from $214,000 from the South Dakota Lottery and $30,000 from Deadwood gaming.

Wow! What a bargain for the pain they inflict. I have often said the biggest expense from VL is the cost to taxpayers from incarceration and conviction (robberies, bad checks, etc). But we like putting people in jail, it’s a big business in South Dakota, thanks to Billy Bob Janks.

There is also something else people don’t consider about a casino in Lyon county. It is an entertainment destination. And while most people will go there to gamble, there will be a host of other things to do (golfing, dining, concerts, etc.), unlike a VL casino. Last I checked if you are not playing a machine in a VL casino, there isn’t much else to do, except eat stale popcorn and drink fizzy American light beer out of a dixie cup.


#1 Ghost of Dude on 06.25.10 at 7:19 am

I look forward to the crappier VL casinos dying when this thing gets built. I doubt that will happen quickly, though. The low-income folks who gamble at those places don’t have the money to go to Larchwood and play real casino games.

#2 Scott on 06.25.10 at 7:45 am

SD suddenly becoming concerned about addiction is as pathetic as the last-second lawsuit by the Flandreu folks to stop the digging because it MIGHT be a burial site.

#3 Plaintiff Guy on 06.25.10 at 8:16 am

Moving gambling to Iowa is maybe good. With government management out of the picture, there’ll be more focus on entertainment. Iowa ventures have managed resort gambling well.

There’s a term in Iowa: “Thrown off the boat” . Addicted gamblers are monitored and turned out. They come to neighboring states for a ‘fix’. Expect bigger problems at state casinos in Sioux Falls. We’ll export the ones we’re after and import the worst.

State lottery was to be directed toward schools. Some went there but now there’s a much bigger problem with orphans whose families came apart from gambling addiction.

#4 Costner on 06.25.10 at 8:40 am

There are a lot of complaints against VL or gambling in general, but I hate to tell you…. attempting to legislate morality rarely works.

Perhaps it isn’t a great way to fund government I’ll grant you that, but if the state didn’t take their cut it would be nothing more than a license to steal for the few influential business owners who were allowed to have the machines.

The bigger issue here is about freedom. Do you really want the state to ban Video Lottery and tell people what they can and cannot do with their own money? Do you want to punish the 96% of the players who are responsible with their money for the 4% who have problems with addiction or money management?

Frankly even without the tax revenue in the picture, I’d still support legalized gambling because it is about personal responsibility and personal choice. The government shouldn’t attempt to ban something merely because it doesn’t agree with it. Just look at how well that worked with prohibition – or in a modern twist look at how well it works with mary jane or with prostitution.

If you really want the government to attempt to influence behavior, the most successful method is merely to tax the h3!! out of it. Just look at the taxes placed on cigarettes and those on liquor sales – you might not think they matter, but studies have shown higher taxes on these items can and do influence the rate of purchase/usage. So to some small degree raising the taxes on cigarettes for example will result in some people not smoking (or at the very least it prevents people from starting).

So how does this relate to VL you ask? Well as you know the state already takes a hefty portion of the VL revenues… but the issue is those ‘behind the doors’ costs are not directly seen by the consumer, thus the average VL player doesn’t recognize the “tax”.

So here is my solution. For every dollar that a VL player puts into a machine, they should only receive 50 cents of credit on the machine. The other 50 cents is the portion that is the “tax” and that goes to the state.

Thus, if you stick in a crisp $20 – you really only see $10 worth of credit on the screen. That allows the player to see first hand the effect of putting money into one of those machines, and it simplifies the accounting process for the state.

Rest assured if you did this, people would soon realize what a gigantic waste of money those machines are and VL casinos would be closing by the dozens within six months. Gambling wouldn’t be illegal so to speak… but it would surely be less popular.

Then again this is much like the “truth in lending” disclosures people get with credit cards and mortgages. There will always be a percentage of idiots who continue to make poor financial decisions just because they are too lazy or ignorant to figure out where their money is going.

#5 Plaintiff Guy on 06.25.10 at 9:06 am

Costner, I read it all. It’s one conclusion that could be combined with others for a solution.

Here’s my input:
It’s time to eliminate VL places but keep the powerball and tickets at retailers. VL is tainted with seedy mafia types commingling with authorities. Casinos are smoking dens with pickpockets and social security check cashing.

I’ve gone and I still go. I also enjoy the freak show at carnivals. Either is a spectator event where the patrons are live entertainment and $5 in a machine will get you an ice cold beer that costs $7 at Foleys.

Regarding your ‘bigger issue is freedom’, there is no freedom in Sioux Falls. There are 3 constitutional lawsuits to prove it.

#6 Sy on 06.25.10 at 11:57 am

Again, I don’t think the Lyon Casino will have any major impact on Video Lottery in Sioux Falls. It will take a chunk of change from Flandreau, who will have to plunk down some serious $$$ to take their game to a comparable level if they want to compete.

Beyond that, the State of SD should expand their gaming industry both horizontally & vertically. It’s not like we are a “little bit pregnant” We have it, the voters have spoken several times, we’d be foolish to go the other way at this point. I also agree that in expansion, there should be more $$ levied that are earmarked to treatment & counseling. You don’t want to go to the level Coster’s suggesting, as that would only drive business away. Give the State another % of the overall take and be done with it.

Also, they should dust off the plan for a Casino near Oacoma and build something on the same scale as Lyon County. You put something like that on Lake Francis Case and you’ll see some major improvements to the middle of the State.

#7 Scott on 06.25.10 at 12:02 pm

I haven’t seen too many people on this site calling for a ban on gambling…either here or in Iowa. However, it’s my belief the state decided that it was more important for a couple of vendors to make a killing than it was to have a reasonable program in this state.

Only a couple of companies own the machines, yet anybody with a $200 beer license can lease them. Tons of businesses that don’t even really sell alcohol have beer licenses just so they can have the machines. These couple of vendors also now own more than their share of bars – some in an official capacity, but most with fronts as the actual owner.