Minn. charities launch tour to promote e-gambling to fund Vikings stadium

The road trip is designed to promote electronic gambling in order to help fund the new Vikings stadium.

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Electronic pulltab devices.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

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 Charity leaders will launch a nine-city state tour in June to promote electronic pulltab and bingo games that will help finance the state’s $348 million share of the Vikings stadium.

Slower than predicted e-gambling sales compelled Gov. Mark Dayton to promote an alternate funding plan, namely routing a portion of the state’s cigarette tax to stadium financing, as well as funds from closing a business tax loophole.

Al Lund, executive director of Allied Charities, said charities still expect to pay a large portion of the stadium tab. But having some time to get the games off the ground is a relief.

“We’ll now be able to focus on electronics and not have the pressure of having $34 million [in needed stadium tax revenues] looking us in the face every day,” said Lund, at a Minnesota Gambling Control Board meeting Monday.

To drum up interest in the electronic games, Allied Charities will launch its tour June 10. Leaders from the Minnesota Gambling Control Board, the Minnesota Department of Revenue and the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association will be available to answer questions. E-games manufacturers and vendors will also be available, Lund said.

The idea is to let charities get a firsthand look at the products now available, answer questions about installation, customer response, tax ramifications and more, he said.

Roughly 1,200 charities are licensed to sell the e-games in 2,800 bars and restaurants and fraternal halls across the state.

Since the games were launched last September, about 200 sites have made e-bingo and e-pulltabs available to customers.

The tours will stop at Bemidji, Duluth, Mankato, Rochester, Fergus Falls, Willmar, Marshall, St. Cloud and Fridley.

“Our hope [for the tour] is we increase money for our [charity] missions by selling more games, which in turn provides more tax revenue for the state, and ultimately we hope enough revenue to pay for the stadium,” Lund said.

 

Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511

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