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Electronic Pulltabs Unsuccessful in Minnesota Stadium Funding

By Matt Ward -- January 22, 2013 8:34 AM EST

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In 2012, the Minnesota Legislature approved a new, state-of-the-art stadium, to replace the outdated and aging Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, home to the Minnesota Vikings. In order to pay for the expensive new football "cathedral", legislation called for tax hikes, private funding from the Minnesota Vikings' owner Ziggy Wilf, and revenue supported by the sale of electronic pulltabs in bars and restaurants across the state.

Although construction shovels have yet to break ground in downtown Minneapolis, the project is off to a rocky start. Sales of the electronic pulltab systems are lagging well behind initial projections, and do not appear to be gaining momentum any time soon. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been following this developing story over the past few months. In December, when evaluations were conducted to determine where the state stood with the electronic pull tab sales, it was already apparent that they were behind their projected goals. Consequently, they lowered their short-term goals for both revenue earned, and the number of bars and restaurants that would adopt the gambling devices. With those reduced goals and the state's current budget deficit, future fund raising opportunities look bleak.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, approximately 120 restaurants and bars currently offer the gambling device, which is well behind the goal of 2,500 establishments by July of 2013. These electronic pulltabs were designed to cover the state's $348 million share of the stadium construction costs; however the state has yet to muster its first million dollars in net sales after prizes were awarded.

To say that the state of Minnesota is on the "hot seat" would be an understatement. The new stadium has energized the Vikings' fan base---a fan base that, aside from occasional playoff appearances, has not had a great deal to be passionate about. These financial developments mean that it may be "back to the drawing board" for the Minnesota Legislature and the Vikings' front office, in order to determine how they will bridge the gap caused by the missing revenue. However, if you ask the Vikings' fans, all they care about is witnessing a 2016 opening kickoff in the new home of their beloved Minnesota Vikings.

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