The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled the Minnesota Gaming Control Board improperly allowed a certain feature on electronic pull tabs. Those who benefit from charitable gambling say if e-tabs are scaled back, nonprofits and youth sports will lose out.
The court ruled in favor of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, who claimed the open-all feature that allows a player to hit a single button to reveal all of the lines, triggering bonuses for the player too closely mimics that of a slot machine. Under the state’s gaming compacts, slot machines may only be operated by the tribal nations. An all-out ban on the feature has yet to be signed. When they were introduced to help pay for U.S. Bank Stadium, they were supposed to be just like their paper counterparts, but as technology has gotten better, the games have gotten more sophisticated.
The American Legion and Allied Charities officials, firefighters, children, local nonprofits and various recipients of charitable donations will be holding a news conference at noon at the Capitol on Monday, March 6th, denouncing a potential move to limit e-tabs saying that would deal a blow to “many small charitable gambling operations all across the state in their missions to help their communities. From offsetting the effects of poverty to aiding youth programs and from purchasing life-saving firefighting equipment to solving veteran homelessness, e-tabs have helped overcome rising costs across the board. Minnesota loses if e-tabs are scaled back.”
A bill to limit e-tabs was also introduced in 2021, and according to the American Legion, a state fiscal note said electronic pull tabs generate $60 million a year, and local charities would lose $33 million. Restaurants and bars would lose $30 million, and jobs would be lost, racking up $35 million in lost wages.