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Vets Gaming on the cutting edge of digital gaming machines

You could say that Vets Gaming has hit the jackpot.

8/21/18 (Tue)

You could say that Vets Gaming has hit the jackpot.

The Kenmare-based charitable organization last Sunday (Aug. 12) implemented 48 digital pull tab machines in 15 locations in northwestern North Dakota, including 11 in Kenmare.

They were among the first to be set up in North Dakota. Other areas include Fargo, Grand Forks and Beulah.

Lyndsie Nelson of Vet's Gaming said the intent is to add five more when all the bugs are worked out.

Nelson called it a “super, good investment” in charitable gaming because it changes the whole dynamic of playing games of chance in North Dakota.

“It’s all electronic so there is little to no work,” Nelson said. “And it’s brought in a lot of profit.”

In the first five days of operation, 110,038 tickets were sold that generated an income of $12,460.

“This will really help get more money for our donations,” Nelson said. “It’s just like a paper pull tab, only it’s digital.”

She said the machines came from Next Generation Gaming in Fargo. It’s the company that currently services Vets Gaming with pull tabs, bingo and other games of chance.

Nelson said the Next Generation representative Mike Lorz, let the Vets Gaming folks know about the machines and allowed them to demonstrate its operation.

She said Vets Gaming has been working on getting the machines for nearly two years and the demonstration took place in Minot last year. Lorz had an individual machine for people to test out.

“Mike travels and played them in Virginia,” Nelson said. “He thought he would bring them here to try.”

The machines, which resemble casino slot machines, are manufactured by a company called Grover Gaming in Greenville, N.C.

But getting these machines wasn’t as easy as calling in an order.

Nelson said because every state has its own gaming rules, Grover had to manufacture machines to match North Dakota’s gaming laws and that’s what took so much time. Jumping through the state’s legal hoops took more than a year.

What Nelson said is really interesting about these $7,500 machines, is that Vets Gaming didn’t pay a dime to get them.

Instead, Next Generation Gaming keeps a portion of the proceeds to cover its expenses and anything above and beyond that goes to Vets Gaming.

“We had a plan but actually increased it based on space availability,” Nelson said. “We now have 48 machines with the plan to add five machines.”

Nelson also wants people to keep in mind that these new machines aren’t going to make pull tabs obsolete. She said they are keeping the physical pull tabs because some people will always like to play with the actual cards.

For others, mostly millennials, they like the technology and are more likely to play the digital version.

“We’re trying to target everybody,” she said.

Six of the machines are located at City Limits, five are at Beer Bobs and two are at Dave’s Place, all in Kenmare, with anticipation of more to be installed.

The number of machines operated by Kenmare Vets Gaming at other locations vary depending on the amount of space available at each local facility. They include:

• Hilltop Bar, Ross

• Beach Bar, Stanley

• Z Bar, Carpio

• Grano Lakeside Lounge

• Country Mouse Bar at Mouse River Park

• The Joint, Bowbells

• Donna’s Den, Northgate

• The 109 Club, Lignite

• Smokey Bonz, Portal

• Group Therapy, Columbus

• Nooners, Noonan

• Turleys Pub, Powers Lake.

Nelson said Vets Gaming leadership is thinking that Canadian visitors will like to play the new machines, which is why they are so concentrated along U.S. Highway 52 and at Mouse River Park.

However, she added local residents who like to play the machines, have a preference for Vets Gaming machines because they know it’s a local organization giving back to local charities.

There are other gaming organizations in northwestern North Dakota, but those who are familiar with Vets Gaming, know the history and know the integrity of the organization, thus they are more likely to patronize machines placed by Vets Gaming.

“People like to keep it local,” she said. “It’s a real turn off when it’s not a local company.”

Roger Mathews of Kenmare was playing the machines at City Limits on Friday. He said he doesn’t mind playing because it’s all for a good cause in support of a local organization.

According to Mathews, the machines are intriguing because they provide the feel of an actual casino, make the noise and give the full effect of a casino slot machine.

How it works is you deal with tickets, but they are digital. You stick dollar bills into the machine and get vouchers to play 25 cent, 50 cent, $1 or $2 games. Nelson said each machine has four separate games. In addition, each machine has an extended feature that allows you to play free, but each machine is slightly different than the others.

For those like Nelson, who work with Vets Gaming, each machine has two deals of games. When enough people have played and the deals get low, new games are automatically uploaded. With pull tabs, they physically have to be added or changed.

Every couple of financial quarters, new games and new pay outs are uploaded.

The machines are only allowed to be played during the business hours of the local site.

“We check on our phones to look for any issues that might come up,” Nelson said. “These are all new. They were in the state just four days prior to coming to us. These are all new so please have some patience while we are working out the kinks.” ... 

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