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Support Your Local Veterans’ Gambling Habit? $5M Veterans Center to Include Video Lottery

Aberdeen organizers hoping to build a new veterans’ center asked the Brown County Commission to contribute $300,000 toward their $5,000,000 project. Chief fundraiser Thomas Croymans told the commission that one state lawmaker has expressed concern about the project’s planned inclusion of video lottery machines:

He said one legislator also expressed concern about video lottery machines that would be in the center. Croymans said that legislator was worried about the video lottery machines, which encourage gambling, in a center aimed at providing services to veterans, some of whom struggle with different vices.

On the other hand, he said, the machines will also help provide a stream of income to provide those services [Elisa Sand, “Group Backing New Veterans Center Seeks $300K from Brown County,” Aberdeen AmericanNews, 2021.05.19].

Hmm… if the organizers of this project can count on the tax revenue raised by their video lottery machines to pay for the public services required to remedy the harms caused by those machines, maybe the organizers could just take a loan out to build their project and count on their cut of the video lottery take to pay off their debt. The new machines were averaging almost $100 a day last December. Install ten machines, take the half allowed by the state, and you could put a pretty big dent in a monthly mortgage payment.

Besides, the state already sanctions their gambling activities, so what more public subsidy does this project need?

The Brown County Commission took no action on the $300K donation request.


  1. jerry 2021-05-21 03:11

    When you have the one eyed bandit machines, you also have a beer and wine license, why not just call it an American Legion club. This then is not a vet center, it’s a bar, name it the Jungle Deuce.

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-05-21 08:05

    A public facility providing public services to veterans is great. The organizers plan to have the county’s veteran’s service officer relocate from the courthouse to their new facility. But the public already provides a space for that public servant. Do we really need to move that public servant from a government building to a private clubhouse with beer and gambling? I mean, if that’s our new model for public service, maybe other county officials would benefit from moving their operations to a new facility with bar and lounge. Maybe the county auditor should permanently relocate to Lager’s: register new voters every evening from the bar crowd, then serve drinks on Election Day to people waiting to vote. Ditto for the county treasurer: no one would mind waiting in line at the end of the month to pay taxes or get license tags—just take a stool and a brew while the bartender processes your forms.

  3. Mark Anderson 2021-05-21 17:04

    Hey our DeSantis just made Florida a much better gambling state, trump will take advantage right away. You South Dakotans have to hurry up. DeSantis one, Kristi zero.

  4. O 2021-05-22 15:04

    I’m sure I remember Cory writing (tongue in cheek) about installing video lottery machines in schools; thus allowing our public schools to be revenue generators. It appears that again life in SD imitates satire.

  5. grudznick 2021-05-22 15:11

    Video lottery machines are in many teacher’s lounges in private schools. Plus there are little casinos near every public school for the lunch and smoke breaks those teachers take.

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