Nonprofits Rally at Capitol Against Possible Changes to E-Pulltabs
Several local organizations were at the state Capitol Monday, rallying to protect the future of electronic pulltabs.
Electronic pulltabs are an important revenue source for nonprofits and youth sports, but there’s a possibility that “e-tabs” could be scaled back by state lawmakers. If that happens, it could cut into charitable gambling revenues. However, there’s a group of people who are hoping to prevent that from happening.
“E-tabs have become an important part of our overall fundraising,” said Allen Lund, gambling manager for the Osseo/Maple Grove American Legion Post 172. “E-tabs now account for 30 to 40 percent of our monthly net receipts. That amounts to an additional $6,000 to $8,000 a month to our bottom line that we have to offer further support to those in need.”
Lund was part of a group at the Capitol featuring various American Legions and organizations that benefit from charitable gambling, which made a plea to state lawmakers not to scale back electronic pulltabs.
Electronic pulltabs were first introduced in 2012 as a way to finance construction of U.S. Bank Stadium. Since then, they’ve grown in popularity, generating $1.9 billion in 2022, according to Allied Charities of Minnesota.
“A $1.9 billion industry right now,” said Keith Franke, executive director of Protect our Charities. “You reduce that by 40 to 70 percent, how many jobs are going to be lost? How many services are going to be lost? How many organizations are going to go under?”
A recent ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeals found that the Minnesota Gaming Control Board — which makes the rules on e-tabs — improperly allowed a feature that makes the games look similar to slot machines. Instead, the games should look more like a pulltab on a screen.
“So the games as they stand today would be illegal and would need to be rolled back at that point, cause that would be a very big deviation from how the current games look now,” said Rachel Jenner, executive director of Allied Charities of Minnesota, commenting on what could happen.
While there’s currently no bill at the Capitol to scale back electronic pulltabs, this group is trying to be proactive and prevent any changes to these games.
“E-tabs are crucial for the many small charitable gambling operations and their missions to help their communities,” said Kristy Janigo, a Maple Grove City Council member who also serves as the Department of Minnesota American Legion’s legislative chairperson.
Related: Osseo-Maple Grove American Legion Hosts Fundraiser for People Fighting Cancer