Published: April 12, 2023

North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley says organizations violated state gaming laws

North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley filed a complaint against several gaming organizations Thursday, alleging millions of dollars in charitable gaming proceeds were improperly diverted.

The complaint against Western Distributing, Plains Gaming Distributing and Midwest Gaming Distributing alleges multiple violations, including unlawfully conspiring to facilitate illegal rent payments and interfering with charitable organizations' gaming sites.

"The foregoing violations have significantly impacted charitable gaming organizations in North Dakota by creating an unfair advantage for Western, Plains, and Midwest to procure sites for aligned charitable organizations," Wrigley said in the complaint.

The personnel for the corporations appears to be closely connected, according to the complaint. Western, Plains and Midwest all operated out of the same address, according to the complaint.

Agreements with veterans organizations would have required all gaming equipment to be purchased by AGS exclusively from Western, Plains, or Midwest, Wrigley said.

On multiple occasions, the complaint alleges the companies violated when they facilitated rent payments through the Wall of Honor that exceeded the maximum rent allowed by law.

"With respect to electronic pull-tab devices, the maximum amount of monthly rent is $100 per electronic pull-tab device for the first five machines at a site, and $50 for each machine beyond five machines at the same site. Rent must be a fixed dollar amount per month and an organization may not pay any additional rent or expense, from any source, or for any other purpose," Wrigley said.

Wall of Honor rent payments would vary from $100 to $1,000, according to the complaint.

Some groups refused to enter into agreements with the corporations due to the understanding that proposals from Wall of Honor to provide rent payments were contingent upon switching charities, which is unlawful, according to the complaint.

Wrigley requested revoking the licenses for Western, Plains and Midwest, along with a fine of $120,000 and an additional fine of $5,000 against Western.

Debbie Stoltman, who is named in the complaint, told The Bismarck Tribune the situation was unfortunate.

"We are confident that a full airing of the facts will show that Western, Plains and Midwest are innocent of the charges against them, and we are hopeful that the Gaming Division will work with us to address its concerns in an open and non-adversarial manner," Stoltman said.

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