American Legion post ends pulltab gambling

Princeton American Legion Post 216 has ended its pulltab operation after selling pulltabs for close to three decades.
The final act was the recent closing of its last pulltab operation at Steven’s Restaurant in downtown Princeton.
The state of Minnesota legalized pulltab sales by service organizations in 1981 and many nonprofit groups, from Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts to youth hockey and snowmobile clubs, got into the act. Peak revenues in pulltabs were in the early years, and it has been tapering off. The local Legion post had gross sales of as much as $1.8 million per year at one time and had as much as sales of $258,065 in fiscal year 2010.
“Our gambling (revenue) was down so far we were just barely making expenses, paying wages and for the accounting,” said Post Commander Jerry Whitcomb. “We were lucky if we were making $100 per month.”
The Legion and its auxiliary will continue to run bingo games during the annual Mille Lacs County Fair.
The Legion, like other charitable organizations, used the net profits from its pulltab sales over the years to donate tens of thousands of dollars to charitable causes. The Legion continues to donate to charitable causes, including annual scholarships to high school graduating seniors. Now it has to rely more on other fundraisers, like its pork chop dinner, omelet breakfast and bingo games to come up with the money for donations.