Gov. Walter D. Miller has called for a special session of the legislature to address the impact of a recent state Supreme Court decision that could lead to a $63 million state budget deficit in fiscal 1995.
The court ruled that the state video lottery, which includes games of chance such as blackjack, keno, and poker, violates the South Dakota Constitution, according to Larry Long, chief deputy attorney general, The constitution prohibits games of chance. but generally makes an exception for a state lottery.
The court said that the video lottery is not a traditional lottery involving purchases of tickets by individuals who participate in a statewide game, Long said. The lawsuit was filed by three South Dakota lawmakers who opposed gambling, Long said.
Jenelle Toman, press secretary for Miller, said that the court ruling means that the state could lose its share of video lottery processds. They are expected to make up $63 million of its annual general fund revenues in fiscal 1995, which begins July 1. The general funds budget for 1995 is $602 million.
During the special session, which begins July 11, Toman said that state lawmakers could take the video lottery game issue to the voters by placing a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 8 ballot. She said that the legislature also could vote on alternative revenue sources, such as sales or income tax increases, to make up for any budget shortfalls.
Long said that the attorney general's office has requested that the state's highest court defer the effective date of the ruling until December, after voters go to the polls.
South Dakota does not issue general obligation debt.