In a special legislative session last week, state lawmakers passed a measure placing a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 8 ballot that would allow a video lottery.

Lawmakers passed the measure in response to a state Supreme Court decision last month that said South Dakota's video lottery violates the state constitution. The state's video lottery includes games of chance such as blackjack and keno.

If voters do not approve the amendment, the state could face a $63 million deficit in its current $602 million budget due to the loss of video lottery proceeds, according to Janelle Toman, press secretary for Gov. Walter D. Miller.

To avert a deficit, legislators authorized the state to use $13 million of its reserve funds to cover budget needs. The funds to fill any remaining gap would have to come from budget cuts, Toman said.

Toman said that the state Supreme Court has not yet decided when its ruling will go into effect. However, the state attorney general has requested that the high court defer the effective date of the ruling until December, after the vote on the constitutional amendment.

South Dakota does not issue general obligation debt.

-- April Hattori, Chicago

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