ST. CLOUD -- If a proposal to eliminate electronic pull tabs in Minnesota gets approved at the state legislature, local charities could take a big financial hit.

Nikki Collova is the Gambling Manager for the St. Cloud Area Youth Hockey Association. She says since e-tabs started in 2012 their paper pull-tabs sales have remained steady, but e-tabs have grown in popularity.

They are a pretty big deal.  We get about 65 percent of our revenue from electronic pull tabs.  This has gone up quite a bit since first getting electronics and it just seems to keep increasing.  Our paper play has been pretty steady, but we've definitely seen an increased interest in electronics.

The St. Cloud Area Youth Hockey Association sells pull tabs at six sites in St. Cloud and Waite Park.

Electronic pull tabs have become a concern for some because they are looking more like games played at casinos, but Collova says every game created has been approved by the gambling control board. She says if they simplify the look of the games to make them look more like the paper games they'll be less appealing to play.

Collova says charities already took a hit when bars and restaurants were closed for several months due to COVID-19.

She says the St. Cloud Area Youth Hockey Association uses the money they raise from charitable gambling to pay for things like ice time, travel expenses, equipment, and for helping other local organizations.

Allied Charities of Minnesota Executive Director Al Lund says the bill is not operating in a vacuum and it will reach into many areas that have not been fully examined including state tax revenue, stadium funding, charitable mission dollars, and the site partners will all be negatively impacted.

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