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Supporters Say Minnesota Pull Tab and Bingo Games Will Pay Off

In Minnesota supporters of pull tab and electronic bingo games are confident they can raise enough money for a new Vikings stadium. Genny Hinnenkamp travels the Duluth area and collects the proceeds from the pull tab games and the profits will go to the charity she represents and the new stadium. Hinnenkamp dreams of collecting more money but is realistic about how fast revenues will grow. Hinnenkamp stated “Everybody’s got to be patient” including legislators and customers.

In the Minnesota Capitol Some lawmakers are worried that the new games such as pull tabs and electronic bingo are not bringing in as much money as expected to pay taxes to support the $1 billion program to build a new Vikings stadium. Taxes from the pull tab and bingo games were supposed to bring in $348 million for the stadium. Since the pull tabs were launched last September they have brought in less than expected because the games were placed in fewer places than predicted.

Only 120 venues throughout Minnesota are operating the electronic games. Earlier forecasts had predicted that games would be placed in 2,500 locations throughout the state by July 21. Some lawmakers contend that the number is too high and cannot be reached in such a short time. Rep. Joe Atkins stated “I’m more concerned than I was before the hearing.” Atkins made the comment after a House committee heard the numbers last week. House Speaker Paul Thissen told reporters he does not see a need to make any changes to the stadium financing this year.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is not expected to propose any changes to the current plan. Hinnenkamp would like to see some changes that would provide her charity, Irving Community Association, with more gambling generated revenues. Hinnenkamp predicts that the pull tabs and bingo will generate more money after all the bugs are ironed out. Hinnenkamp stated “Some of our bar owners are really, really waiting to get started.” Bars and other businesses host bingo and pull tab games and split the proceeds with charities that sponsor the games. The state collects taxes which will be used for the new stadium.

Charities that sponsor pull tab games expect revenues to jump but even more money will be generated by linked bingo games with huge jackpots.  Rich Jarenson of the Bemidji Snowmobile Club, which sponsors pull-tab games in 11 Bemidji-area bars and convenience stores, stated “I think that bingo is going to be a bigger one; you are going to see a lot bigger prizes.”

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