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Posted by FPN Gaming on Tuesday, September 10, 2019
An example of an electronic pull tab machine from FPN Gaming

Tribes continue to take hit from electronic pull tabs in North Dakota

Tribes are continuing to lose revenues due to the proliferation of non-Indian electronic pull tabs across North Dakota.

Scott Davis, a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who serves as the executive director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission, told the Plain Talk podcast that tribal revenues have dropped an estimated 30 percent to 45 percent. He said tribes were essentially "duped" by state lawmakers, who had promised only a minimal impact on Indian Country when they legalized the electronic games in 2017.

“It’s no small thing for us,” Chairman Mark Fox of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation said at the Strengthening Government to Government Relations Conference last month, The Fargo Forum reported. “It’s of dire concern, at a minimum.”

Plain Talk by Rob Porter: 'I don't want to use the word duped'

The conference, held January 15-16 in Bismark, included a panel titled "Electronic Gaming and Future of Indian Gaming." In addition to Fox, Collette Brown, the executive director of the gaming commission for the Spirit Lake Nation, said electronic pull tabs are hurting tribe's operation.

“Myself, my tribe, are gravely concerned with the electronic pull tab systems, e-tabs, in the state of North Dakota,” Brown said, The Forum reported, citing a 42 percent decrease in revenues.

Electronic pull tabs first launched in August 2018. They are now present at non-Indian bars, restaurants, gas stations and social clubs in nearly every county, The Forum reported.

Quarterly reports for non-Indian gaming are available from the North Dakota attorney general's office for the quarters ending June 2019, March 2019, December 2018 and September 2018. The September 2018 report contains the first figures from the electronic pull tab machines.

The reports show that electronic pull tabs bring in far greater revenues than any other type of game. For the quarter ending June 30, 2019, they accounted for more than 70 percent of gross proceeds at non-Indian establishments.

The state gets a cut of the revenues through a tax on electronic pull tabs. Charities also receive a share of the funds.

Read More on the Story
E-tabs spark 'dire concern' for North Dakota tribes relying on casino revenue, jobs (The Fargo Forum February 3, 2020)
Official credits electronic pull tabs for increased tax revenues in North Dakota (Forum News Service July 5, 2019)

An Opinion
Plain Talk by Rob Port: ND Indian Affairs Commissioner says tribes feel a little duped by Legislature's expansion of gambling (The Fargo Forum February 4, 2020)

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