Skip to Main Content


We want nothing more than for you to have fun playing our games. But it’s also important to play responsibly. Be informed. Know when there’s a problem. And never be afraid to ask for help.

Tips to Play Responsibly

  • Playing responsibly means having a plan, a budget and an awareness of when playing is no longer about just having fun. Here are some tips to help you keep the fun good.
  • Play for fun and entertainment.
  • Understand that winning and losing are both part of gambling.
  • Never borrow money to gamble.
  • Never gamble to win back losses.
  • Don’t let gambling interfere with family, friends or work.
  • Only spend what you can afford to lose.
  • Use your entertainment budget to play — not money needed for daily living expenses.
  • Set a spending limit. Once you reach your limit, stop playing.

Problem Gambling

If you think you, or someone you know, has a problem with gambling, don’t ignore it. Learn the warning signs. Understand the problem. Ask for help.

Let Us Help

The South Dakota Lottery believes in good fun, but we realized that for some people, gambling isn’t fun. It’s a problem. To keep the fun good, remember to follow a few simple rules when playing. Think of playing as entertainment. Set a time limit and a budget similar to what you would be willing to spend on a night out. In other words, only play as much as you’re willing to lose. And if you do lose, never try to win it back by exceeding your budget or time limit. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, help and treatment are available. Call the Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-888-781-HELP. Your call is always confidential.

SD Department of Social Services

The South Dakota Department of Social Services strengthens and supports individuals with behavioral health needs through prevention services, community-based outpatient services and more.


Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other in hopes that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem.

National Council on Problem Gambling

NCPG is a single access point for those seeking help for a gambling problem. Always confidential. Call or text 1-800-522-4700. Chat services are available on the website.

Gam-Anon® International

Gam-Anon® International Service Office, Inc. provides information for the general public and professional community about problem gambling and its effects on the gamblers’ loved ones.

Doing Our Part

The Lottery provides up to $214,000 annually to the S.D. Department of Social Services (the program was formerly housed under the Department of Human Services) to pay for problem gambling treatment services. Through the end of FY22, the Lottery has provided nearly $4.75 million to pay for problem gambling treatment services. Treatment is confidential. The toll-free problem gambling HELPline phone number is also included on all scratch and lotto tickets, video lottery machines, video lottery establishment posters, brochures, lotto game play slips and this website. The Lottery also participates annually in activities organized by the National Council on Problem Gambling including “March Problem Gambling Awareness Month” and their holiday campaign against purchasing lottery tickets as holiday gifts for minors. Our agency is also a member of the South Dakota Council for Responsible Gaming.

Warning Signs of Problem Gambling*

  • Preoccupied with gambling and unable to stop.
  • Bragging about gambling, exaggerating wins and minimizing losses.
  • Restless and irritable when not gambling.
  • Gambling to win back what’s been lost.
  • Borrowing money for gambling.
  • Lying to hide time spent gambling or unpaid debts.
  • Frequent unexplained absences.
  • Losing work time because of gambling.
  • Jeopardizing a significant relationship or job by gambling.

How to Reach Out to a Friend or Relative*

  • Find a comfortable place to talk where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Keep it simple and straightforward.
  • Tell the person you care about them and you’re concerned about how they are acting.
  • Tell the person exactly what they’ve done that concerns you.
  • Tell the person how their behavior is affecting other people and be specific.
  • Be clear about what you expect (“I want you to talk to someone about your gambling.”) and what they can expect from you (“I won’t cover for you anymore.”).
  • After you’ve told the person what you’ve seen and how you feel, allow them to respond. Listen with a nonjudgmental attitude.
  • Let the person know you’re willing to help, but don’t try to counsel them yourself.
  • Give the person information, not advice. Encourage them to call a problem gambling helpline.


*Adapted from materials provided by the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Youth Gambling Facts

  • A large number of young people report their first gambling experience occurs around 9 to 11 years of age.
  • Lottery scratch tickets have been shown to present a possible gateway to other gambling activities.
  • Approximately 80% of high school-aged adolescents report having gambled for money during the past year.
  • Two to four percent of adolescents presently have a problem with gambling. To put it into perspective, adult gambling disorder prevalence rates are about one to two percent of the population.
  • Some adults report giving lottery tickets to children as gifts during the holiday season. If we can raise awareness and education on the risks of giving lottery products to children, we can do our part in minimizing potential harm.

A problem gambler doesn’t necessarily need to “hit bottom” to decide to get help. If someone you know is gambling for more than fun, they may have a problem. Talking to them can seem scary, but they need you to have courage.

If you’re the spouse or family member of a problem gambler, it’s important for you to take care of yourself and realize that you’re not responsible for the gambler’s behavior. Even if your loved one isn’t ready or willing to get help, you may want to call a problem gambling helpline.

Problem gambling is not a bad habit or a moral weakness. It’s a serious condition, but with treatment, problem gamblers can put the game in perspective and make decisions to improve their lives and yours.