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House panel kills gambling warning bill

National Park Service

The House Commerce and Energy committee is killing a bill aimed at requiring the South Dakota Lottery to promote adverse effects of gambling.

Proponents for the bill want the state lottery to set aside money to promote public awareness of the dangers of gambling.

Matt Walls has worked in the field of addiction treatment for over 20 years. He shared a story of a patient experiencing gambling addiction while testifying in support of the bill Monday.

“He said to me again and again in the car, on the way, he stated that, 'I never knew gambling could get this bad. Nobody ever told me gambling could cause my entire life to fall apart.’ He said, ‘I never saw it coming,” Walls said.  

Opponents said the state lottery is already providing the public with warning and support.

Derek Johnson is an economist with the South Dakota Bureau of Finance and Management.

“The lottery already spends money on responsible gaming campaigns. The lottery’s 'please play responsibly' message is on all point-of-sale tickets, television, and radio advertising. In addition, the lottery makes available $214,000 every year to the department of social services for problem gambling treatment,” Johnson said.

The committee killed the bill in a seven to five vote.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.