Electronic gambling, introduced to Minnesota bars last September, was initially projected to generate $35 million in tax revenue for the new Vikings football stadium. It didn't. After their first year, e-pulltabs didn't generate any revenue for the stadium at all.
New state figures show 85 percent of the $15 million Minnesotans spent on the games was returned as prize money and $2 million was left to be divided among other expenses.
These numbers don't come as a complete shock, however. The initial $35 million in projected tax revenue was slashed to $17 million to $1.7 million, all within 9 months.
Al Lund, executive director of Allied Charities of Minnesota told FOX 9 News five months ago that numbers and projections were low because there weren't enough electronic pads in enough bars and restaurants throughout the state. At that time, there were 961 devices at 196 sites, with hopes of eventually having 15,400 devices at 2,500 sites. Today, only 300 of the 2,800 bars and restaurants that sell paper game offer their electronic counterparts, according to the Gambling Control Board.
After that 85 percent payout to e-pulltab players and the $2 million doled out as charity expenses, donations and taxes, there's nothing left to send to the stadium project.
Regular paper pulltabs, on the other hand, racked up nearly $1 billion in sales during the fiscal year that ended in June -- a five-year high. Some of that money will go to the stadium.
Meanwhile, e-bingo, which rolled out earlier this year, was expected to help turn the tide. But e-bingo ran into some technical bugs and still struggles to attract enough players at one time to make the payouts attractive.
FOX 9 will speak again with Lund on FOX @ 9 to address a few pressing questions about what's next for the e-pulltabs, and another important question: Why aren't bar and restaurant goers playing?