The sluggish pace of electronic pulltab sales has the state looking at fresh venues to entice gamblers -- including the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.From the governor's comments, it doesn't look like he'd be concerned if we did start looking more like a gambling center.
The devices are supposed to pay the state's share of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium. But so far, only 85 of the state's more than 6,000 bars have installed the devices. That has led to revenues that are 51 percent below projection, forcing the state to downgrade its revenue estimates by millions of dollars for the coming year.
Gov. Mark Dayton met with state gambling and revenue officials Wednesday for a briefing on e-pulltab sales. Charities have been slow to embrace the new technology, but Dayton predicted the problem will solve itself as the devices catch on and new vendors are licensed by the state...
"We kind of walked into it gingerly, because it's gambling and we're Minnesotans. Would we become another Las Vegas?" Vaughn said with a laugh. "But it's people sitting with iPods, playing games. ... It seems like it's going to work."
After his briefing, Dayton said he is not worried about the long-term prospects for Minnesota's pioneering effort on electronic pulltabs. The state is the first to use e-pulltabs to benefit charities and capital investment projects like the stadium.I remember when the bill was being pushed, the charitable gambling folks didn't think it would work out, because the state was taking so much of the revenue. Wasn't enough for the bars to make it profitable for them. With that knowledge out there, why was the legislation still jammed through? To get the Vikings stadium bill through the legislature. They'd worry about redoing the stadium bill later.
"I don't think there is any reason to be concerned," Dayton said. "Any time a conceptual projection impacts with the real world, things change."
When the news of the lackluster forecast broke last week, Dayton briefly speculated that the devices could someday be installed in grocery stores.
I thought then and do now, that the stadium would lead to a push for a further expansion of gambling to make up the deficit. Looks like that's just what is happening.