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Powerhouse, state officials still in discussions

Powerhouse, state officials still in discussions


A California-based manufacturer of electronic pull tab machines and two North Dakota officials involved in a federal lawsuit over the company’s license suspension are still at the table, though they have agreed to dismiss the suit.

Powerhouse Gaming Inc. sued North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and state Gaming Division Director Deborah McDaniel after Stenehjem suspended the company’s gambling license in early July. The two sides on Wednesday entered into an agreement to dismiss the suit. U.S. District Judge Daniel Traynor on Thursday signed an order adopting the dismissal.

Powerhouse attorney Paul Sanderson told the Tribune that the company won't comment on the dismissal. Stenehjem was not available for comment on Thursday, but his office in a statement to the Tribune on Friday indicated the parties are still talking.

“There are ongoing discussions,” Stenehjem spokeswoman Liz Brocker said.

Stenehjem on July 8 ordered that nearly 500 machines built by Powerhouse be shut down because the company failed to show it had purchased a software license for each device. Stenehjem in a statement at that time said Powerhouse was using illegal or pirated software, terms the company said were slanderous.

Powerhouse sued in mid-July, saying the company was unfairly targeted. It sought money damages and a restraining order that would allow it to continue operating. The company on Wednesday filed the motion for dismissal.

It’s unclear if Powherhouse’s license is still suspended or if machines it built can go back into operation.

The suspension order cost Powerhouse $60,000 per week and threatened the jobs of 69 employees in five states, the company said. The license suspension was to stay in effect until the company proved its compliance, but the company said it “had a final effect” because its machines had been replaced by those of competitors.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or


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