Regulator wants agency doubled due to electronic pull tabs

BISMARCK (AP) — North Dakota’s top gambling regulator made an appeal to lawmakers Tuesday to double the size of her agency to keep pace with the explosion of wagering brought on by electronic pull tabs.
The Las Vegas-style games , which legislators approved in 2017 were launched in August 2018, have caused an “explosive increase” in gambling in North Dakota, helping to put a “tremendous strain” on the charitable gaming division of the attorney general’s office, Deb McDaniel, the agency’s director, told the Legislature’s interim Taxation Committee.
“It is a true struggle to regulate this rapidly expanding gaming industry,” she told 18-member bipartisan panel that is studying charitable gambling taxes. “I need to at least double the amount of staff I have now to do this properly.”
McDaniel said the amount wagered on charitable games in the current two-year budget cycle will top $1 billion, and mostly from electronic pull tabs. That’s about a 75% more than the 2015-17 budget cycle when there were no machines in the state.
McDaniel said in an interview that she wants to double the number of staff at her agency to 22 and triple its budget to $6 million in the next two-year budget.
Jamestown Republican Rep. Jim Grueneich, the committee’s chairman, said the panel will meet at least two more times before the full Legislature convenes in 2021. He said proposed legislation likely will come from the meetings.
Charitable Gaming Association head Janelle Mitzel has estimated the pull tabs will increase money going to charities by 50 percent, to $69 million, in the state’s current two-year budget cycle. That money funds everything from youth sports to programs for the needy.