North Dakota Settlement with Three Gaming Companies Accused of Exploiting Veterans Nonprofits Stands

July 18, 2023 | Lottery News

BISMARCK, N.D. (July 14, 2023) — A recent settlement between North Dakota’s attorney general and three gambling equipment distributors will stand after their main company retracted an email sent to customers that the AG scrutinized for possibly violating the settlement.

Attorney General Drew Wrigley told The Associated Press on Friday that Western Distributing Company retracted the email in a subsequent message to customers, “which was wise of them.”

Attorney General Wrigley in April accused Western and affiliate companies Plains Gaming Distributing Inc. and Midwest Gaming Distributing Inc. in an administrative complaint of violating the state’s gambling laws and regulations by facilitating excessive rent payments and attempting to influence bars’ charitable gambling activities through the Wall of Honor veterans nonprofit. The Wall of Honor recognizes military members and veterans and emergency responders on indoor digital display boards in places such as bars, restaurants and fraternal organizations.

Attorney General Wrigley had alleged a scheme involving the Wall of Honor as an enticement to get bars to use electronic pull tab machines provided exclusively by the three distributors, and to influence bars to switch charitable gambling organizations, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

The settlement includes a maximum $125,000 fine, acknowledgement of wrongdoing, and the removal of Western and Plains President and shareholder Dave Wisdom and his immediate relatives from ownership and involvement with the companies.

Another provision includes potential revocation of the distributors’ licenses if they don’t comply with the settlement’s terms or if they commit other violations during the next three years. Attorney General Wrigley, in reviewing the now-retracted email, cited an agreement of the settlement that the distributors “will refrain from making any statements contrary” to the settlement’s terms and acknowledgements.

Attorney General Wrigley said he is not revoking the distributors’ licenses. He said what caught his eye in the initial email were characterizations of Wisdom’s removal from ownership as his retirement, and activities related to the Wall of Honor as the result of confusion.

“It was not a bit of confusion, and they’ve acknowledged that in the settlement,” the Attorney General told the AP.

North Dakota lawmakers and state regulators have grappled in recent years with issues related to electronic pull tabs, which have proliferated in the state since 2018.

Electronic pull tabs, also known as e-tabs or electronic instant bingo, are a form of gambling game often found in bars, clubs, and other establishments. They are a digital version of traditional paper pull tabs, which are small paper tickets with perforated tabs that players can pull to reveal symbols or numbers.

In the electronic version, the pull tabs are displayed on a screen, and players use a touchscreen or a device similar to a tablet to “pull” the virtual tabs. The game works by matching certain combinations of symbols or numbers on the tabs to predefined winning outcomes. If a player reveals a winning combination, they typically receive a payout or a prize based on the game’s rules and the amount they wagered.

Electronic pull tabs are typically regulated by the local gambling authorities and must comply with specific rules and regulations. The availability and legality of electronic pull tabs may vary depending on the jurisdiction. Some areas may have specific licensing requirements or restrictions on where and how they can be operated.

It’s important to note that gambling can be addictive and carries financial risks. If you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling problem, it is advisable to seek help from a professional organization or helpline dedicated to gambling addiction.

The Legislature this spring passed a bill to limit e-tabs, which function like slot machines, while a legislative study of the state’s charitable gambling issues unfolds.

SOURCE: The Associated Press.

Tags: , ,