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Rep. McDonald: House Democrat provision would deal major blow to charitable gaming

Wednesday, April 19, 2023


ST. PAUL – State Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano, said House Democrat legislation would effectively end electronic pull tabs as we know them, dramatically reducing revenue generated for local charities and other organizations.

Language in the majority’s omnibus tax bill (H.F. 1938) eliminates the “open all” feature that has been in use in electronic pull-tab games for years. This move, McDonald said, would diminish charitable gaming funds these popular games produce, compromising a critical revenue source for local charities ranging from veteran organizations to youth sports teams, Main Street business partners and beyond.

“I have heard from many nonprofit groups in Wright County who rely heavily on electronic pull tabs to generate revenue they need to do their good work and are very upset about this proposed change,” McDonald said. “I share their concerns because it would be outrageous for our state to undermine their efforts, adding to the great many challenges they already face in this economy by unnecessarily stifling a major source of their funding.”

McDonald said, in 2022 alone, electronic pull tabs generated almost $2 billion in revenue that was then invested into communities. Without this critical revenue stream, McDonald said, much of the charitable efforts Minnesotans currently benefit from would not be possible.

“In many ways, these organizations are the backbone of our local communities,” McDonald said. “The work they do largely would go undone without these great civic groups stepping in to fill the void. How the House majority can even think about throwing sand in their gears is incomprehensible.

“On top of that, think about the damage this would do to the Main Street establishments that count on electronic pull tabs as a source of entertainment to draw people through their doors. Our small businesses have been through enough the last few years and continue to struggle with workforce challenges and higher costs. The state needs to get out of the way so they can focus on building their business, but this legislation needlessly does the complete opposite.”

McDonald said he continues working with House Democrats to remove this provision from the tax bill, but it's critical that legislators hear directly from charities, bars, restaurants, service clubs, and other community organizations so they understand just how serious the consequences would be if this provision is passed.

More information regarding this bill and contact information for legislators can be found at


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