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RELEASE: Sen. Housley, Rep. Franke Team Up to Protect Minnesota Charities, Bars, and Restaurants

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

ST. PAUL, MN — Rep. Keith Franke, R-St. Paul Park, and Sen. Karin Housley, R-Stillwater, are teaming up to protect Minnesota charities, bars and restaurants from an unprecedented attack to eliminate electronic gaming in the state.

House File 2366 eliminates games that “display or simulate any other form of gambling, entertainment, slot machines, electronic video lotteries, or video games of chance.” The proposal would result in a more than $100 million hit to restaurants and bars; charities, and worker wages, and would wipe you every penny of the $1.3 billion in annual revenue on electronic pulltab gaming.

“Our state's charities, bars and restaurants have suffered enough from the devastation of the pandemic,” said Sen. Karin Housley. “I encourage every Minnesotan to call their legislators today and ask that they oppose this misguided effort. We must keep our word to Minnesota charities and their small business partners.”

“Electronic gaming empowers our local charities and their small business partners,” said Rep. Keith Franke. “Revenues from electronic gaming enable our local charities to do great work across our state. In addition, they help our bars and restaurants make ends meet. Eliminating electronic gaming would be devastating.”

According to the HF 2366 fiscal note, “all existing electronic pull-tab and linked bingo games will be prohibited under the proposed language.” All revenue of $1.3 billion per year “will be eliminated on those games.” According to the HF 2366 fiscal note, it would deprive local bars selling electronic games of an estimated $29.25 million in revenue annually; reduce local wages by an estimated $35.75 million annually; and reduce charitable funds by an estimated $33 million annually. On April 21, HF 2366 passed as part of the House Jobs Omnibus bill carried by Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids. Its Senate companion, SF 1863, has not received a hearing, and is not included in any Senate Omnibus bill.

Proponents of HF 2366 have falsely compared electronic games played on iPads in veterans’ clubs and bars to slot machines in casinos. That same comparison was rejected by a Minnesota administrative law judge in 2020. In her ruling dismissing the case brought by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Judge Barbara Case wrote, “The mere push of a button is too far attenuated to constitute ‘mimicking’ of a slot machine.” Judge Case also wrote that the petitioners “failed to present compelling evidence to show that open-all electronic pull-tabs mimic a video slot machine.”