BUSINESS

Gambling revenue to be used on Vikings Stadium off to slow start

TAGs: Business, electronic gambling, Minnesota, minnesota gambling control board, Minnesota Vikings

minnesota vikingsThe state of Minnesota’s share of the money set to be used to fund the new Minnesota Vikings stadium is lagging a little worse than expected. That’s not a really positive sign considering that when the state co-signed to shell out $348 million to build the new Vikings Stadium, they didn’t expect the source of those funds – tax receipts from electronic gambling – to come in at about half the pace they expected.

Initial estimates on the projected revenue from the new electronic pull-tabs for this fiscal year was set at $34 million. But with the slow progress in getting these machines situated, that number has been cut to $16 million.

With a drastic shift in expectations, the Minnesota Gambling Control Board is pointing to, of all things, logistics and complicated protocol, as the roots of the problem. Tom Barrett, the head of the MGCB, explained that getting these devices into their bars and restaurants is taking far more time than anybody anticipated. Maybe they should get Adrian Peterson to do the job for them.

As it stands now, though, only 75 bars and restaurants have electronic gaming devices, a number that Barrett says, in an idea setting should be around 300 by now.

In addition, Barrett also pointed to the complicated background checks being done to the vendors, an issue that has resulted in just one vendor being approved to supply the games to bars and restaurants. With a seeming lack of options, charitable gaming sites (Minnesota is one of the biggest states for charitable gaming) have been content to sit back and wait for more vendors to get their businesses approved before making their decisions on what games they’d like to bring in to their establishments.

It seems easy like an easy issue to solve – make the screening process a little less complicated, which will result to more vendors getting approved, and thus opening plenty of game options for the charities – but as is often the case when you’re dealing with clashing egos and agendas, there’s no such thing as an “easy issue to solve”. It’s like stubbornly trying to undo the ribbon on your present when there’s a pair of scissors sitting beside you.

In any case, Barrett is still hopeful that things we’ll smooth themselves out eventually, which would lead to the tax receipts actually eating their targets. “Obviously, we’d like to be further ahead, but our focus is to make sure that integrity is there,” he said.

“As things get up and running, I think we’ll be on track.”

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