Reality Check: Pull Tabs Equal Money For Stadium

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Stadium supporters promise a windfall from electronic pull tabs and bingo, but there’s not a lot of evidence to support that.

The state Department of Revenue estimates Minnesota could bring in $72 million a year, assuming 4,000 machines at 1,500 locations, including 1,500 bingo machines and 2,500 pull tab machines.

Officials estimate between $90 and $225 each in gross receipts per day and $33.75 in net receipts, per day, but many are skeptical.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers is not convinced the pull tabs will bring in as much as people claim, and he’s worried charitable groups will lose funding.

“Those charities purchase ice time, they buy defibrillators, they help fund fire trucks,” said Zellers, a Republican who has not clearly stated whether he supports or opposes a Vikings stadium.

“I mean, that’s what that money is supposed to be going for,” he said.

In fact, charitable gaming money goes to hundreds of local groups, from youth hockey to local fire stations. In the last decade, that money has steeply declined.

What you need to know is charitable gaming receipts are down 32 percent from $1.3 billion in 2002 to $887 million in 2010.

However, stadium supporters believe electronic gaming machines will help increase participation, especially among younger Minnesotans.

In addition to more tax revenue, stadium supporters believe a “modernized” online gaming system will generate $53 million more for charities and $28 million more for small business owners annually.

But it’s difficult to verify how much money would come from electronic pull tab machines, since there are few of the machines actually in operation.

Virginia installed some machines this year and Idaho has a pilot project. Florida has similar machines, called “adult entertainment amusement machines,” but the state doesn’t regulate them or collect data. The political reality: Electronic pull tabs secure the most votes.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said it has the most resistance to legal challenges that might otherwise slow the Vikings stadium project down.

“As far as we know so far, there won’t be any lawsuits questioning our ability to expand this form of charitable gaming,” said Dayton.

Here are the sources used for this reality check:

Department of Revenue Estimates Electronic Gaming Proceeds
Minnesota Charitable Gaming Revenues
MN History of Charitable Gaming
Gaming Developments in 50 States
Vikings Stadium Deal Terms
Gambling Control Board

More from Pat Kessler

One Comment

  1. Brett says:

    What a joke, electronic pull tabs. You’ll never see me playing that stupid game.

  2. Ron says:

    If someone is on the internet, they probably have enough smarts to know that pull tabs is a game for suckers.

    What does the plan say about who is responsible if the revenues don’t materialize?

  3. Andy says:

    Cardboard crack! I love it!

  4. Great Idea says:

    increase participation, especially among younger Minnesotans

  5. bud says:

    It just goes to again demonstrate that Zygi, Dayton, Rybak, Mondale and the rest will say or do anything to get a new stadium built regardless of the consequences to the people of MN.

    To all the naysayers who say “Let the Vikings go,” I say “Let them go? How about we MAKE them go?” The Vikings are such LOSERS!

  6. DougT says:

    “However, stadium supporters believe electronic gaming machines will help increase participation, especially among younger Minnesotans.”

    The young are already being bled to death to cover the aging populations “needs” And the state is promoting gambling, to the young?

    If anything – Should not the state be encouraging everyone to save for their future? There is not enough of the young to cover to ponzi scheme call social security the way it is and now the state will con the exploited youth for a millionaires plant and equipment??

    This is outrageous. The state has no shame……


    1. the old nurse says:

      The young are already being bled to death to cover the aging populations “needs”
      @ Doug. May you understand personally each and every need personally of the aging population. You are an eeyore.

  7. Piggy Wilf says:

    I’m going to take your money.
    There is nothing you can do to stop me.
    Then I’m going to thank you the way the Twins do. It’s actually quite amusing.

    Minnesota, you are such a bunch of poor ignorant dupes I almost feel sorry for robbing your blind. Ha, Ha, just kidding.

  8. Best3800 says:

    There must be a lot of duped people in this country,almost every city with an NFL team has a newer stadium.Build it and make the whiners go away, we need construction jobs in this state,now is the time.SKOAL VIKINGS

  9. J says:

    It is time to get rid of the monopoly of indian casino’s. People are going to play either way. The state was stupid in it’s negotiations over gaming and needs to correct the mistake. The White Earth Casino was a good compromise, but the lobby for Prior Lake will not allow anyone in their “territory”. Enough is enough, people are going to play either way. Build a state owned Casino.

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