Charities scramble to replace 500 shutdown e-tab machines
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - There are about 2,500 electronic pull tab machines across the state. But in the past week, about five hundred of them have been shut down.
The state Attorney General’s office is temporarily suspending a distributor by the name of Powerhouse Games. The machines were using illegal or pirated software and charities were told to pull the plug.
Now, the gaming division is attempting to understand what went wrong. It’s unknown how long the illegal e-tab machines were operating, leaving gaming officials at a loss.
“I do not know if it was the independent testing laboratory that dropped the ball or if the company altered the system after it went into the field...I don’t know,” said Chief Deputy Attorney General Troy Seibel.
But tribal leaders said they saw this coming.
E-tab machines are not as heavily regulated as casinos.
“We have to do more, and these ones get to come in and they get to do less,” said Spirit Lake Tribe Chairman Douglas Yankton Sr.
But, with more than 500 e-tab sites in more than 200 cities across the state, gaming division workers are spread thin. And now charities are trying to pick up the pieces as well.
“It could be awhile before they can operate again, so I would say most charities are scrambling to get new machines to replace them,” said Charitable Gaming Association Treasurer Don Santer.
But, e-tab machines yielded their highest revenues yet in the month of May, making nearly $85 million.
With e-tab machines continuing to grow in popularity, gaming division leaders said they’ll need more staff in order to properly audit every machine in the state.
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