Charities upset with North Dakota electronic pull tab rules
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Charities and the lead sponsor of successful legislation to allow electronic pull tabs in North Dakota are upset with new rules that have been crafted to govern their use, including limiting the number of machines and payouts.
The Legislature last year approved the use of electronic pull tabs and the North Dakota attorney general’s office is now writing rules for their use.
A public hearing on the proposed rules was held Monday at the state Capitol.
Minot Republican Rep. Andy Maragos, the bill’s primary sponsor, said the draft rules by the attorney general’s office “fail to comply with the express legislative intent.”
“It is clear that those writing the rules were either unaware or willfully ignored clear legislative intent,” he said.
The state Gaming Commission, which regulates charitable gambling, will review the new rules on April 16. Deb McDaniel, the gaming director for the state’s attorney general’s office, said new rules will be adopted by July 1, and could reflect changes from the draft rules presented Monday.
McDaniel said she expects the electronic pull tabs to be running by late summer.
Pull tabs or “rippies” are paper tickets that a player buys and opens to see whether the ticket offers a prize. They account for a majority of the wagers at North Dakota charitable gambling outlets.
Players bought about $148 million worth of paper pull tabs last year, according to statistics kept by the North Dakota attorney general’s gaming division.
About a half dozen states currently use electronic pull tabs, said Scott Henneman, vice president of Oasis Gaming, a vendor that provides paper pull tabs in the state. The company also intends to provide electronic pull tab machines, which cost $4,000 to $6,000, he said.
Henneman and other backers of electronic pull tabs said they do not take away from paper pull tab sales.
The draft rules, as presently written, also would prevent their use where minors are present, something that is not required for paper tickets, said Melissa Harvey, who manages five nonprofit charitable sites in eastern North Dakota.
Harvey said that provision would force four of the five sites she manages to close.