North Dakota Changes Its E-Pull Tabs Regulations

North Dakota recently voted on its pull tabs rules, and the gambling regulators created part of what they will discuss in the next assembly.

They passed new regulations which determine the types of enterprises that will provide e-pull tabs in the state. Even so, the games' state is still unsettled.

The New Pull Tabs Rules

Michelle Griffith from the Grand Forks Herald states that the North Dakota Gaming Commission announced a new regulation last week. It seeks to specify the businesses that it has allowed to provide these games.

The new regulation eliminated grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations as e-pull tabs venues. However, five such businesses that have been providing the games will continue offering them.

The state's gaming regulators claimed that more machines will soon be available, and they would overwhelm the Commission. Also, they were concerned about the law's intent being overextended. The new rule comes when electronic machines have rapidly gained popularity in the state.

The Machines Are Earning North Dakota Significant Revenue

Reports state that North Dakotans gambled more than $1.3 billion in the last fiscal year on pull-tab games. This is twice the money they spent on these games in the previous fiscal year. Estimates show that they might spend $2 billion on pull-tab games this fiscal year.

It is tricky for any local casino operator to lack interest in the state's growing gaming market. Pull tabs revenue can quickly recover money that a casino spends promoting alcohol sales to get a license.

Tribal casinos and grocery stores would be huge competitors if the regulators would have allowed them to set up pull-tab machines.

Local Tribal Casinos Disparage Pull-Tab Machines

The state's tribal casinos have generated less revenue since it legalized e-pull tabs in 2017. For instance, they lost 17 percent of their revenue in the machines' first year of operation. Yet, there is a strong correlation between an increase in pull-tab games' revenue and a reduction in tribal casinos' revenue.

Mike Faith, Standing Rock's chairman, stated in 2020 that tribal leaders wanted to know the number of e-pull tab machines that North Dakota had capped.

Besides, tight restrictions about their location are a cap, and it is uncertain whether they will last for a long period. Tribal casino owners still have an opportunity to influence the state's Gaming Commission to change its decision.

The State's Legislature Hasn't Weight in Yet

The legislature will start its next term in January as it often meets in odd years. Each side's lobbying efforts might be effective by then as legislatures can opt to start implementing the new rules that prohibit grocery stores and gas stations from running pull tabs machines.

Still, lawmakers can introduce new statutes to the rules. This issue will be crucial even though it is difficult to predict the direction that most lawmakers will take.

North Dakota's Legal Stand on Pull Tab Machines

The state's Gaming Commission passed a similar rule in 2018 that defined a "bar." But a legislative committee filed an appeal, and this is a major reason why the regulators are confident that the Commission can change its earlier decision. The legislature voted to direct pull tab machines' revenue to responsible betting resources last year.


A sports enthusiast, Ryan helps cover sports betting news from around the country, highlighting some of the more interesting events going on in the USA.