Gambling board hears e-pulltab complaints

Apple iPads being prepared for electronic pulltab operations at O’Gara’s Bar and Grill on Sept. 17, 2012. (MPR Photo)

Drew Naseth, a Faribault paper pulltab supplier,  is accusing the state of fumbling the rollout of electronic pulltabs in a report offered to the Minnesota Gambling Control Board and other state officials.

The board’s executive committee, Chair William Goede, Norm Pint and Bill Gillespie, heard a summary of the report from Executive Director Tom Barrett this morning. Naseth put together the report on his own initiative.

Among other things, Naseth’s report alleges:

  • The Gambling Control Board rushed rulemaking for the new games
  • The state was blurring the line between promoting electronic games to pay for a stadium and regulating the gambling
  • Electronic pulltab games should have state ID stickers, like other gambling equipment
  • An MPR report on preparations of the game at O’Gara’s Bar and Grill on the night of Sept. 17, 2012, showed the state’s first electronic pulltab supplier had illegally initiated the games, made by Acres 4.0, before they were formally approved by the Gambling Control Board.
  • The initial supplier of the games, Express Games didn’t properly register as a Minnesota business with the Minnesota Secretary of State.
  • The Office of the Legislative Auditor ought to conduct a review of the Gambling Control Board

Barrett conceded that some of the points, like the lack of state stickers and an unprecedented temporary approval of more electronic pulltabs in January, weren’t clearly set out in law.

But he also refuted other complaints in the report, including an allegation that electronic pulltab gambling had an illegal head start — based on the MPR News report.

”The alllegation was that the games were put out the night before. And that’s not the case,” Barrett said in an interview later. “My position on it is that the devices were Apple iPads, and we view those Apple iPads as iPads until those Apple iPads are loaded with the electronic pull tab game.”

The author of the report, Naseth, was at today’s meeting, but didn’t talk to the board.

“Electronics can be a very good thing. It’s just a matter of how we do the implementation,” Naseth said in an interview after the meeting. “The implementation has been different with the electronics than what we went through with the original back in the 1984-85 timeframe, when the original rules were set up. Things were very well defined about a lot of the processes and procedures, prior to implementation. And we’re lacking that now.”

Board members asked Naseth to meet with Barrett and go over how to address his concerns, but he declined to commit to a meeting. Board members said they may discuss his report further at their regular monthly meeting, scheduled for Monday.

You can read the report below: