Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Committee-approved bill would pull back on electronic pull tabs

To help fund the construction of U.S. Bank Stadium, the Legislature passed a law in 2012 allowing gambling using electronic pulltabs, with the caveat that they mimic the paper game and not look and play like slot machines.

That provision was to allay concerns of tribal governments who wanted assurances the new games would not infringe on their casino gaming rights.

Since then, says Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids), electronic pulltab games have indeed come to look and play like slot machines. He sponsors a bill that would stop that.

“To me, there is no question that the games being played today are far outside the scope of the deal that was negotiated in 2012,” Stephenson said.

“I think it’s particularly important for us to honor and keep the promises that we make to our tribal governments in recognition of the long history that our government has of failing to keep its promises with treaties and otherwise with Indigenous people in our country,” he said.

The House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee approved HF2366, as amended, 12-5 Tuesday and sent it to the House Ways and Means Committee. The companion, SF1863, sponsored by Sen. Tom Bakk (I-Cook), awaits action by the Senate State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee.

The bill would specify that electronic pulltab games “may only display symbols typically associated with paper pull-tab tickets, may not include continuation play, bonus games, or additional screens … and may not display or simulate any other form of gambling, entertainment, slot machines, electronic video lotteries, or video games of chance.”

The new types of e-pulltab games are much more attractive to players, Stephenson said, which makes them much more profitable for bars and restaurants, as well as the nonprofit organizations that receive a portion of the charitable gambling revenue they generate.

Stephenson admits these businesses could possibly lose revenue, so he successfully offered an amendment that would extend until Sept. 6, 2022, the date by which game manufacturers would have to make their machines compliant.

“It doesn’t make sense to change the rules right now,” said Mike Jennings, owner of three west-metro restaurants and a board member of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, especially when hospitality industry businesses are suffering so much from pandemic-related shutdowns.

“It’s just going to be another devastating blow to our industry,” he said.

Related Articles

Priority Dailies

House passes tax package that includes rebate checks, $1 billion in new revenues
Rep. Aisha Gomez and House Majority Leader Jamie Long talk during a break in the May 20 debate on HF1938, the tax finance and policy bill. (Photo by Catherine Davis) Is it the largest tax cut in Minnesota history? Or the biggest tax hike the state has ever experienced? Could it be both? That’s the crux of the debate about the conference ...
House passes finalized cannabis legalization bill, sends it to Senate
A supporter of cannabis legalization demonstrates in front of the Capitol in 2021. The House repassed a bill to legalize recreational cannabis, as amended in conference committee, May 18 and sent HF100 to the Senate. (House Photography file photo) The House gave the green light to adult-use recreational cannabis Thursday. “The day has finally arrived. Today is the day that we are going to vote here in the House for th...

Minnesota House on Twitter