Will ePull tabs delay new Vikings stadium?

When it comes to pull tabs, the new question is paper or electronic. Where the Vikings stadium is concerned, we hope the answer is electronic. There is a lot of concern over electronic pull tabs and their performance as of recently. Some concern is legitimate and some concern seems premature.

The question we hear most is, “will the concern over electronic pull tab performance slow or stop the building of a Vikings stadium?”

Extremely doubtful.

The only clause we saw in the legislation that would bring this project to a stop would be if the Vikings failed to put up their down payment of $50 million. Given the $200 million loan they just received from the NFL, that shouldn’t be a problem.

While there is some truth to what the press is pushing out in terms of underperformance of ePull tabs, what you won’t hear is that they have an entire year yet to ramp up the program. There has been proposed legislation to reexamine the funds that the ePull tabs are generating, and what can be used in lieu of any potential shortfall, which isn’t a bad idea altogether.

John Weaver, the CEO of Express Games, the company that distributes the game went on the offense when he joined Dave Lee on WCCO Radio, “Once the program is fully implemented, it can generate a significant amount of what the state is looking for. Remember, the money the state allocates for the stadium is all charitable gaming receipts. It’s not just electronic (pull tabs).”

The ePull tab program originally started at ten bars across Minnesota but has since grown to 216 locations. More locations are scheduled to carry ePull tabs which will increase the amount that they generate. The hopes are to expand to 2,500 total bars in Minnesota.

Courtesy of our friend Tim Nelson at MPR, you can find ePull Tabs at any of the 216 locations here.

To Mr. Weaver’s point, it’s not just about ePull tabs, it’s about all charitable gaming that will be used to pay down the debt service on the stadium. What is the state looking for? It starts at $34 million a year and will decrease over time.

For 2013 the amount of money expected is about $2 million which will be well short of the estimated $30 million. The problem then becomes any shortfall could end up being covered out of general tax funds. That is something nobody, including SavetheVikes.org ever advocated for.

So if contributions are short, what can we do to help boost them?

Discussions have started at the Capitol around solutions which have included a sports merchandise tax (originally proposed by Senator Julie Rosen (R-Fairmount) and retired Representative Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead) in 2010).

Other lawmakers have told us that they would prefer to see a scratch off or some sort of lottery solution. Racino at Running Aces has begun to make another appearance, but that solution and other forms of expanded gambling has the charities concerned they could be punished for underperforming before they had a chance to ramp up.

We have two ideas we’d like to suggest, one is a form of revenue that we suggested early on, personalized Vikings license plates. Our studies show that it can generate anywhere from $500,000 to $1M annually after covering expenses and overhead.

The other idea comes to us from two Vikings fans from Brandon, MN-Pete and Sue Pittel. A Minnesota State Lottery Raffle that you would run once a year for season tickets to the Minnesota Vikings home games. Tickets would cost $10 and if 500,000 to one million people purchased a ticket that would generate $5-$10 million annually. We have a hunch however that Vikings fans would by more than one ticket.

At the very least it’s something we feel if explored by lawmakers and the Minnesota State Lottery could help with the shortfall as ePull tabs ramp up and eliminate any doubt that the new Minnesota Vikings stadium will be completed by its contractually obligated date of July of 2016.

Lastly, a public unveiling of the Vikings Stadium plans should be coming soon, so stay tuned for upcoming details on that!

Registered Electronic Gambling Sites 4-3-2013 by Cory Merrifield

About the Author

Founder and author of SavetheVikes.org. Born and raised in MN, Cory has been a lifelong Vikings fan. Season ticket holder, stop by and see him in section 218! cory.merrifield@savethevikes.org