How important is charitable gambling to the state of Minnesota? That’s the question lawmakers will have to decide as they consider whether to pass an electronic-linked bingo and pull-tabs bill that aimed at reviving the flagging industry. So far so good, the bill passed a Senate committee on yesterday.
It’s estimated that the use of electronic bingo and pull-tabs would mean about $2.5 million in additional revenue to the state each year and the Gambling Control Board estimates some 3,500 sites in Minnesota could offer these electronic games by 2014.
Currently around 2800 sites offer charitable gambling in Minnesota but the declining industry seems to suffer a termination per week.
Part of the problem is that charitable gambling in the state is far behind the times. The large part for the future of this sector in gambling is digital technology, which appeals to a younger crowd. Charitable gambling officials in the state are hoping that electronic bingo and pull tabs will do exactly that.
There has been some opposition to the bill from Prairie Island Indian Community Tribal Council President Victoria Winfrey. The Prairie Island Indian Community operates a casino and is likely concerned what the gambling expansion could mean for business.
According to the Princeton Union Eagle, former wrestling legend and World War Navy vet Stan Kowalski made an emotional appeal for allowing veteran organizations to operate slot machines to raise critical operating dollars. Kowalski chided Indian gaming interests for working to thwart the expansion of gambling in Minnesota. As quoted in the Princeteon Union Eagle, Kowalski asserted, “I’ve got nothing against the Indians. They were here before all of us.”
This issue is likely to be an ongoing one in the state. Though gambling expansion in many ways is good for the state, there are groups that are proponents of gambling which can be adversely affected if the legislation isn’t carefully drafted.