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Minnesota’s Electronic Pull Tabs Under Assault Once Again


A state court recently overturned a previous decision that had allowed the use of electronic pull-tabs (EPTs) in multiple venues in the state. This ruling has caused some controversy, as it has been argued that the decision limits the availability of gaming in the state and could lead to a decrease in revenue. The court’s decision has impacted the way gaming is regulated in the state, and has caused some uncertainty around the future of EPTs in the state.

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A court ruling this Monday has caused controversy in Minnesota, overturning a 2019 decision by the state Gambling Control Board that allowed electronic pull-tabs (EPTs) to operate in multiple venues across the state. This ruling is seen as a major setback for the industry, as venues such as restaurants, bars, and other properties were now found to be operating EPTs without proper authorization. This decision has put the future of EPTs in Minnesota in doubt, raising questions about the regulation of gaming in the state.

Electronic pull-tabs (EPTs) have been a source of contention in the state of Minnesota, with arguments from all sides being heard. Small business owners have seen EPTs as a lifeline during the pandemic, claiming that without them they would have to close their doors. EPTs are also important for charities, providing a reliable source of revenue. Tribal gaming operators, on the other hand, argue that EPTs too closely resemble their own slot machines, and should be regulated as such. This has caused tension between the various sides, and has led to a court ruling that overturned a previous decision to allow EPTs in multiple venues across the state

Tracing the Cause of the Problem with EPTs

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) has been in conflict with the Minnesota Gambling Control Board regarding the classification of electronic pull-tabs (EPTs) as slots. The US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis had previously legalized EPTs as a way to generate additional revenue, but the SMSC argued that these machines should be regulated as slots. The Control Board initially proposed that vendors restrict their machines to those that reveal one symbol at a time, however vendors pushed back, leading the board to cave. The SMSC anticipated this outcome and filed a lawsuit of its own, and Monday’s court ruling was seen as a victory for the tribe, as the decision effectively declared EPTs to be operating illegally.

Big Money in EPTs, Are They Here to Stay?

Despite the dispute, electronic pull-tabs (EPTs) have become an important part of the state’s economy, generating $1.9 billion in revenue in 2022 according to a report from the Minnesota Gambling Control Board. Much of this revenue is forwarded to charities and nonprofits, making a strong case for the continuation of EPTs. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) has been unwavering in its assessment of the situation, however, and is determined to continue its fight against what it perceives as illegal gaming operations.

In a statement, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) criticized the Minnesota Gambling Control Board for its approval of games which it believes mimic slot machines, disregarding the legislative intent of the law authorizing EPTs. This fight is far from over, however, as Electronic Gaming Group executive Sam Krueger has stated that EPTs are here to stay, despite the efforts of the tribes to remove charitable gaming from the state.

taken from: www.gamblingnews.com

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