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Idaho House panel approves bill banning electronic pull-tabs

The Idaho Lottery would be banned from using lucrative electronic pull-tab games under legislation advancing in the Idaho Statehouse.

The House State Affairs Committee approved the proposal banning the betting terminals on Feb. 2, which means the bill now goes to the House floor.

The machines mimic the classic pull-tab lotto tickets but are paperless and can be played instantly in bars and restaurants.

In 2011, when the machines were first installed, the Idaho Lottery saw roughly $2.9 million in sales. By 2016, sales had jumped to $31 million.

Supporters argue that the machines help bolster revenue for Idaho’s public schools by attracting a younger crowd. However, critics counter that the machines resemble illegal slot machines.

Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson says there more roughly 240 electronic pull-tab machines spread out among 140 locations in Idaho.

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