Punch boards and pull-tabs (commercial)

If you are a commercial stimulant business, learn what you need to offer punch boards and pull-tabs, including applications, training information, and recordkeeping requirements.

Who can apply for a punch board or pull-tab license

If your commercial stimulant business is primarily engaged in the selling of food or drink for consumption on premises, you may apply to offer punch boards or pull-tabs.

Learn more about the licensing requirements for commercial businesses.

About punch boards and pull-tabs

Visit the Washington State Legislature site to see all the rules that govern punch boards and pull-tabs (apps.leg.wa.gov).

Punch boards

A punch board is a board with a number of openings of uniform size in which the manufacturer placed, at random, slips of paper, or other substances (punches) imprinted with numbers or symbols

  • A flare (face sheet) covers the openings and sets out the winning numbers or symbols and which prizes players may win
  • The punches have specific serial numbers assigned and printed on them
  • After buying a punch, a player may select and remove the punch from the opening of the punch board
  • If the number on the selected punch matches the flare, the player wins the specified prize.


A pull-tab is either:

  • A single folded tab that conceals number(s) or symbol(s) from view
  • A banded tab that conceals number(s) or symbol(s) from view
  • A card with the face covered by perforated window(s) or otherwise hidden to conceal number(s) or symbol(s) from view.

Some of the number(s) in each series of pull-tabs have been selected in advance and at random as prize winners. After they buy a pull-tab, a player opens the pull-tab and, if the numbers or symbols on the pull-tab match the flare, the player wins the prize.

Tips for punch board and pull-tab operators

We've compiled a list of helpful information for punch board and pull-tab operators based on questions we often get.

How to apply

In addition to all the materials outlined in our licensing process, the complete application includes:

Current licensees: Add punch boards and pull-tabs to your existing gambling license

If you already have an active gambling license with us and would like to add punch boards or pull-tabs as a new activity, complete the "Add an Activity" application.

Punch Board / Pull-Tab - Add an Activity to Commercial Business Application Packet (PDF, 500 KB)

If applying by mail

If you're applying by mail, make sure you use the correct address based on the carrier you're using.

For US Mail (No UPS or FedEx)

Washington State Gambling Commission
PO Box 42400
Olympia WA 98504-2400

For UPS, FedEx, and overnight packages

Washington State Gambling Commission
4565 7th Avenue SE
Lacey WA 98503

Required training

After we grant your license, you have 30 days to complete your required training:

Required recordkeeping

You must:

  • Keep records to provide in case we audit your business
  • Complete the records within 15 days of the last day of each month, every month.

Use this Punch Board / Pull-Tab Records Packet (PDF, 520 KB) to help you keep records that meet our standards.

Retaining your records

You must retain the records for 3 years from the end of your fiscal year.

    Renewing your license

    Licenses expire each year. Learn more about how to renew your license.

    Reporting changes to your license

    There are certain changes you must tell us about. Learn how to report changes to your license.