Dayton again backs electronic pulltabs for stadium

  • Article by: ERIC ROPER
  • Star Tribune
  • January 18, 2012 - 9:59 PM
Gov. Mark Dayton reaffirmed his support on Wednesday for electronic pulltabs as an ideal way to fund the state's share of a new Vikings stadium. What would that mean?

Pulltabs are a specific form of charitable gambling, which about 1,300 nonprofit organizations are licensed to conduct at bars across Minnesota. It brings in about $36 million a year to the state in taxes.

The Legislature is considering legalizing pulltabs on iPad-like devices, which Dayton said could generate an additional $60 million a year in taxes. The charitable gambling legislation would also lift significant state restrictions on electronic bingo, which is already legal.

How would it work?

In their current form, pulltabs are rectangular cardboard sheets that bar patrons peel back to reveal whether they have won a prize. By updating that to iPad-like devices, supporters hope to coax new and younger patrons into charitable gambling.

Players would be able to gamble after they had paid someone at the bar to load the machine.

Why pulltabs?

The proposal is often seen as the most palatable change to the state's gambling laws, largely because the state's Indian tribes are not vocally opposed.

John McCarthy, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, said the organization remains neutral on electronic pulltabs because "we're not totally sure that it's an expansion of gambling."

King Wilson, executive director of Allied Charities of Minnesota, said at a legislative hearing in December that the bill would be "taking two of our current games, modernizing them, but doing no expansion, nothing different than what we're doing now."

Eric Roper • 612-673-1732 Twitter: @StribRoper

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