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Reader's View: E-pull tabs strengthen Minnesota charities

The photo the News Tribune chose to accompany the commentary showed a game that is illegal in Minnesota

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Recent statements in the News Tribune defending Sen. Tom Bakk’s misguided effort to kill electronic pull tabs — including the May 27 “In Response” column, “ Legislative fix needed as electronic pull tabs evolve into slot machines ” — couldn’t be more wrong.

It’s time to set the record straight.

The May 27 column claimed that e-pull tabs played in Minnesota bars, restaurants, and veterans clubs have the potential of “becoming slot machines.” It further maintained that the expansion of e-pull tabs was “never authorized by the Legislature.”

Both assertions are nonsense.

The truth is that the e-pull tabs played across Minnesota are, and have always been, in complete compliance with state law. In fact, a state administrative law judge dismissed a petition brought by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux community regarding these very claims in 2020. The judge ruled that the tribe “failed to present compelling evidence to show that open-all electronic pull-tabs mimic a video slot machine.” The judge also stated that “The mere push of a button is too far attenuated to constitute ‘mimicking’ of a slot machine.”

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Furthermore, the photo the News Tribune chose to accompany the commentary showed a game that is illegal in Minnesota. The photo’s caption stated the photo was of an electronic pull-tab machine in Bismarck, North Dakota. In Minnesota, e-pull tabs are played on iPads.

I am proud to stand with Minnesota’s charities, bars, restaurants, and veterans clubs in support of e-pull tabs and the wonderful charities they strengthen. While Sen. Bakk and the casino lobby sought to pull the plug on e-pull tabs during this legislative session, many of us fought back.

Our grassroots movement in defense of e-pull tabs and the charities they boost will continue.

Thomas J. Coulombe

International Falls, Minnesota


Readers' View and Local Views

Letters are limited to 300 words, must be the original work of the author and must be exclusive to the News Tribune. Letters are edited for style, space, accuracy and civility.

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