Electronic pulltabs may soon be in Minnesota's game

Electronic pulltabs, the white knight of Vikings stadium funding, could be installed in bars and restaurants as soon as Sept. 18.


Electronic pull tab games will soon be available to the Minnesota public.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Minnesota's first electronic pulltab games, intended to pay for a third of the Vikings stadium, are undergoing their final testing in Roseville and at a high-security gambling laboratory in Las Vegas.

If all goes as planned, the games will be approved Sept. 18 and will be available immediately to bars and restaurants that run charitable gambling.

"This is a pivotal week," said Tom Barrett, executive director of the Minnesota Gambling Control Board, which will vote Sept. 18 on the new games.

"We're in the final stages of testing. When we have that final report in hand [from Gaming Laboratories International in Las Vegas], and when we're satisfied internally with our own review ... then we're ready to go, if all those things line up."

The five video pulltab games being tested -- with names such as Big Money Heist and Mystic 7 -- are just the beginning. Another nine manufacturers have expressed interest in making hand-held pulltab games for Minnesota, said Barrett. Four already have submitted applications to the Gambling Control Board.

The Legislature approved a dramatic expansion of pulltab gambling last session to pay the state's portion of the Vikings stadium, about $350 million of the $975 million pricetag. Previously, only paper pulltabs had been legal in Minnesota, used by roughly 1,200 charities and nonprofits to support everything from Little League teams to VFWs.

Minnesota, a national leader in paper pulltab use, is poised to be the national leader in electronic pulltabs, offering more games and more locations than any place in the country, said John Acres, president of the Las Vegas-based company, Acres 4.0, that manufactured the initial games.

"When and if the board approves the games, we'll go live in three locations," said Acres, who said he did not have information on the precise locations.

That number could explode in the week ahead, depending on the number of nonprofits that install the new iPad-like games. The habits and preferences of Minnesota's initial players will be monitored by the game manufacturer.

"We have long experience in the casino business, we know what consumers want," said Acres. "But we don't know if that's the same as in neighborhood bars and restaurants running charitable gambling. The first few months will be a period of adaptation."

State is testing, too

While game makers are watching consumers, the state is watching the security features on the video games, scouting out potential opportunities for fraud, errors or just lack of clarity to consumers.

In Las Vegas, testers will vet features such as whether the games pay out the correct amount of money, whether the software is hacker-proof and whether the games produce random winners, said Gary Danger, compliance officer at the Gambling Control Board.

"Just like pulltabs are put in bins and shuffled, these have to be randomized as well," he said.

Meanwhile, at state gambling control offices in Roseville, regulators such as Danger are checking to make sure the games contain features required by Minnesota law, and that they make sense to players.

Danger and his staff get the job of playing video games every day -- while being paid.

"We're looking at things such as, 'Are they adding and subtracting correctly?'" said Danger. "'If there is a winner, how is he identified?' 'Is all the information that is now displayed on a paper pulltab on the electronic pulltabs?'"

Real-time info for regulators

Danger also is monitoring the electronic reports generated by the games, which for the first time give gambling regulators access to real-time information on sales, prizes paid and taxes paid.

Gambling officials already have hired three employees to handle the new games, said Barrett. Another three are on the way.

Meanwhile, the state is in the process of conducting criminal and financial background checks on the other nine game manufacturers who want to enter the Minnesota market.

The growing interest by games manufacturers was good news to the approximately 1,200 local nonprofits that run gambling booths in the state. Charities have been wary of launching the games quickly, he said, because they worry about potential costs and taxes.

"This makes things more competitive," said Ray Bohn, spokesman for Allied Charities of Minnesota. "But there are still a lot of unknowns."

Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Los Angeles 14 Top 6th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Boston - A. Webster 6:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - J. Locke
Toronto - M. Buehrle 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda
Washington - D. Fister 6:10 PM
Miami - T. Koehler
Chicago WSox - J. Quintana 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - J. Teheran
Cleveland - T. Bauer 7:10 PM
Minnesota - P. Hughes
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Seattle - T. Walker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Arizona - C. Anderson 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Cincinnati - D. Holmberg 7:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Lackey
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 8:35 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
Texas - L. Bonilla 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
San Francisco - T. Hudson 9:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Colorado 9:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question