According to reports, residents of North Dakota spent over $410.5 million on electronic pull-tab machines in the first nine months after the machines were officially launched, a trend which made local charities and the State Treasury concerned about problem gambling and the possible impact of the activity on tribal casinos.
The games got the state legislators’ approval in 2017 and were officially launched in August 2018. According to estimates, they have generated approximately the same revenue as they did in the neighboring state of Minnesota. As projected by Janelle Mitzel, who heads the Charitable Gaming Association, the machines that are commonly known as “pull-tabs” would most likely result in a 50% increase in the money generated for charities, bringing them up to $69 million in the current 20year budget cycle of North Dakota.
One of the gaming managers at a local substance abuse treatment center, Jon Jorgensen, has estimated that the gambling proceeds which are expected to be brought to his operation would amount to about $750,000 – an amount which represents approximately 50% up from a typical year.
According to estimates, pull-tab machines have been beneficial for the state treasury, too. So far, other types of gambling games and activities, such as bingo and blackjack, have generated money for charity organizations in North Dakota, but the legalization of electronic pull-tabs have ended up with a 36% increase in the state’s gambling tax revenue which rose to $9.1 million.
Quickly Rising Popularity of E-Pull Tabs Stir Some Concern in the State, Too
The quickly rising popularity of the e-pull tabs has fuelled some concern related to the possible negative impact the machines could have on gamblers in the state of North Dakota.
The fact that the machines could cause an addiction was confirmed by some regular players. Still, some of them have said they would not mind losing money on the electronic pull-tab terminals considering the fact that local charity organizations benefit from this money.
However, not everyone is so positive to the new gambling devices. Some Minnesotians have called for the authorities to make sure that the machines are removed from the state as soon as possible. They have emphasized on the fact that the pull-tabs could be very addictive and playing on them could cost serious amounts of money to players who find it hard to control their gambling habits, especially if they are losing more often than winning.
The fact that machines are getting more and more popular in North Dakota has stirred concerns that they may lead to an increase in the problem gambling rates in the state. As a local counselor for the gambling addiction treatment program “Gambler’s Choice” has confirmed, about a dozen people sought the charity’s help to deal with negative consequences from electronic pull-tab machines in January and February 2019.
As mentioned above, analysts have also been concern about the possible impact the rising popularity of the machines could have on the five American Indian tribes’ reservations. In fact, some of them have already felt the effect of the pull-tabs. The operation of the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation has suffered a revenue decline of about 40%, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has reported a gambling activity drop.