Gaming Studio, Inc.
Minnesota 2018 [See the Bill HF3511]
This year Allied Charities of Minnesota is, not just endorsing, but directly carrying the legislation under direction from their general membership and board of directors.
Making existing charitable games more secure and accountable while also increasing the efficiency is a win for the state, the public spirited organizations seeking to fund laudable community activities and the civic-minded leaders who volunteer to lead by joining organizational boards of directors.
HF 3511 - What it Does in General
• Reduces the amount of secured paper consumed (all of it imported into Minnesota) by allowing one ticket, printed on site, to contain all of a players selected wagers for each of up to ten consecutive spins, or in the case of a wheel used with a table, provides for the use of virtual tickets or chips for specific wagers - converted to a printed ticket for cashing out. In both cases, the player must deliver a printed paper ticket to the cashier on site to collect winnings.
• The value of very wager is recorded by computer, providing certain knowledge of gross wager per spin in real time. This information is not known (for instance where every wager was placed) under the existing system. Assurance that the wager was placed prior to the wheel being spun.
• Alleviates the need to physically write payout amounts on each and every winning ticket.
• Reduces the opening and closing work for organizations significantly.
• All payouts are calculated by computer, reducing potential "human error."
• Provides the Control Board with the explicit authority to scrutinize every element of electronic wheel games. Currently there are no statutory electronic wheel game review processes.
• Provides the use of symbols in addition to numerals on a wheel. Symbols sometimes add a humorous element - like the very popular Pig Wheel™ in North Dakota. So long as symbols are distinguishable, they should not be precluded.
HF 3511 - What it Does Not Do
• Allow for player activated play. Does not allow individual player terminals.
• Does not allow for remote play. You must be at the site and pay cash.
• Does not increase the speed of the game play over the existing wheels.
• Does not increase the bet limit over that currently allowed nor provide prizes above those allowed in Bingo, Pulltabs and Raffles.
Minnesota Electronic Wheel History
In 2012, Minnesota inserted language authorizing electronic simulated wheels; however, the betting structure remained the expensive manual ticketing system whereby players bet by placing their tickets in slots associated with their desired bet. Despite the advantages of defeating the spin-bias inherent to mechanical wheels, the market for electronic simulated wheels, while still needing to be used with the old paper ticketing system, was too small and too expensive to attract production.
In 2013 a bill was introduced that would have modified the ticketing system used in betting from one ticket for each bet to one ticket that included all bets a player wished to make on a spin. This effectively would save over 95% of the regulated and very expensive paper that is currently used. While the paper is expensive, the cost of handling the paper tickets, each of which represent money, is also cumbersome and expensive. The bill was asked for by a vote of the trade association membership, Allied Charities of Minnesota (ACM). Just after introduction ACM was informed by tribal lobbyists that they would oppose the entire ACM bill if the wheel ticketing language were not removed. Who knew that wheel tickets were threatening? ACM removed the paddle wheel aspects of the bill.
In 2014 an independent bill addressing only the ticketing modifications and some structural/technical language that would have better allowed the one ticket - many bets system was introduced. Because it was the short session, the bill would not be heard. ACM Director stated: "Allied Charities of Minnesota does not have an issue with your product. If your bill gets a hearing we would testify in favor of it."
In 2015, we sought the same previous ticket modifications that would allow the one ticket many bets system and we added the electronic table to replace ticket-based tables. In addition we added language clearly providing the Control Board with regulatory authority over all aspects of the resulting games, including equipment. The introduction of the bill happened a few days prior to the first committee hearing deadline. The bills (H.F. 1798 and S.F.1738) are held over as introduced for the 2016 session.
In November of 2015, Allied Charities of Minnesota, board and general membership voted to endorse H.F.1798 and S.F.1738.
In January of 2016, Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association Executive Board endorsed H.F.1798 and S.F.1738.
In 2016, we relied on assurance given by the co-sponsor of our bill who is chairman of the House Committee on Commerce and Regulatory Reform that H.F. 1798 would receive a timely (there are deadlines for bills passing out of committees) hearing if any gaming bills were heard in his committee. Gaming bills were heard and passed, with an electronic raffle device authorization among them. He stalled our bill until after the deadline passed. He offered an "informational hearing" (hearing without vote) after the deadline in order that we could hear opposition to our legislation. The bill and transcript of testimony of the only two parties testifying against the bill is attached here. As you read the opposition, you realize they had little knowledge of Minnesota paddlewheels used with tables - those in play over more than 30 years. Tribes never argued that tribal casinos would be in any way injured by the proposed modification to wagering wheels. Electronic bingo is played without the requirement of paper cards being used. Electronic pull tabs are played without paper tickets being used. So, why is this bill that reduces (allows those who prefer the existing table/tickets to continue) the use of paper tickets, provides greater regulation and reduces costs to organizations so different? It isn't.
2017 In support of focusing on ACM's tax reduction efforts, the wheel legislation was not pursued.
No Official Committee Hearing Has Been Given Since 2012
Should the legislation pass, Gaming Studio will base the resulting operation in Moorhead, MN. We anticipate fabrication in Lake Park, MN.
In 2015 the legislation that would have allowed electronic paddlewheels passed the Judiciary Committee but was defeated on the House floor as expansion of gaming.
Nokota Gaming System™ Statutorily Authorized in North Dakota
In 2017 expansion of gaming concerns were set aside with the introduction in the House of HB1216 authorizing the use of electronic pull tab gaming devices. After the public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, the Committee received and passed an amendment to the original bill that would have required all electronic pulltab player terminals to be equipped with bill acceptors and that a paper edition of each electronic game offered would be required to be available to distributors in the state. Thus, the amendment would have effectively required kiosk style gaming terminals and would have required any manufacturer who did not, itself, produce paper pulltabs to enter into a production agreement with a paper pulltab manufacturer to produce a paper edition for each electronic game the electronic pulltab manufacturer wanted to release. If paper pulltab manufacturers (all four of them licensed in ND - none located in ND) refused to manufacture a complimentary paper game to an electronic game, at a price deemed even wildly reasonable, the electronic game could not be released. This tie-in supply requirement served no North Dakota public interest and in fact merely defended the control that existing paper manufacturers would have over charitable gaming in North Dakota. It would have precluded Gaming Studio, a North Dakota company, from effectively being able to produce Nokota Gaming System.
After HB1216 passed the House, as amended, and came to the Senate - Senator Carolyn Nelson isn't having the expensive anti-competitive House language that was largely amended in after the public hearing. Working with Joe at Gaming Studio (the only party to submit written and oral testimony against the House version of the bill) and with assists from CGAND, NDAD and the AGs office, Senator Nelson fixes it. Final HB1216 As passed by ND Legislture. Senate Judiciary Chairman Armstrong's very fair and reasonable handling of the matter was commendable as well. The House accepted the Senate modifications thanks to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Koppelman's allowing the Senate version to go to the floor without a conference committee. Charitable organizations can and should Thank Senator Nelson.
North Dakota meets every two years. Thus, January 2019 is the next session. We already have author commitments for the legislation and suspect that it will have a far easier time passing now that electronic pull tabs went through with such a high vote total in 2017.
Other associated Websites
Gaming Studio, Inc. Post Office Box 3112, Fargo, ND 58108-3112
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 701-388-3266
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