Problem Gambling Help | SD Lottery
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The South Dakota Lottery believes in good fun but we realize that for some people, gambling isn't fun. It's a problem.
In order 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.

South Dakota Department of Social Services

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

Gamblers Anonyous

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

National Councel 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 available on the website


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.



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 FY21, the Lottery has provided nearly $4.53 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.




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  • 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 you've 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.



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.

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


  • 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.



  • 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 percent 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, adults 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.

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