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Veterans clubs in peril after obscure change to Maine pull-tab gaming rules


A form of pull-tab gaming is so integral to Maine’s fraternal organizations that recent changes to governing rules threaten at least one hall’s economic future and is sending the state back to the drawing board.

The sealed ticket games operate like scratch tickets: A person buys a ticket from a book which they then play with the chance to win a monetary prize. The games come in a box with a set amount of tickets and are often used at Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, Eagles clubs and Elks halls to offset expenses and provide a pastime while members gather at bars.

Non-winning pull-tab gaming cards sit in a pile at a VFW hall in Portland on Saturday night, April 9, 2022. Local post officials say new gaming regulations will have an impact on their bottom line. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

At the VFW post on Forest Avenue in Portland, proceeds from the games make up the bulk of the revenue. For years, it and other clubs have been listing which prizes have already been won out of each box and then discarding remaining tickets once people lose interest, which typically happens when big cash payouts are already gone.



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