Electronic Pull Tab Problems in North Dakota Legislative Session’s End Days,

In the Bakken oil field, Sweet Crude Travel Center’s electronic pull tabs have generated $250,000 in revenue, with around $80,000 going back to the Grassy Butte community. Brett Narloch, the owner of the truck stop, has also used the revenue to provide resources to local emergency responders, including a utility task vehicle, jackets, hats, and extraction equipment for firefighters. He claims that his establishment’s 10 electronic pull tab machines have been “enormously popular” and are situated in a walled-off area that is not accessible to minors. Despite this, Sweet Crude Travel Center, along with three other convenience stores and gas stations, has drawn scrutiny on where the devices should go and what qualifies as a bar. Lawmakers have attempted to clarify definitions and regulations surrounding electronic pull tabs and charitable gambling with Senate Bill 2304, which passed the House of Representatives with amendments. The amended bill includes allowing the machines in establishments with on-sale liquor licenses, increasing rent for the machines, and increasing the limit of expenses small charities can deduct from their proceeds. While Narloch sees the bill as good enough, others worry that it might expand gambling in the state and lead to increased costs for enforcing regulations. Senate Majority Leader David Hogue supports House Bill 1497, which proposes a timeout on the machines’ proliferation during a mandatory legislative study of North Dakota’s charitable gambling issues.