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From $0 to hero? E-pulltab games pick up steam after rough start

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In September of 2013, one year after e-pulltabs were introduced into Minnesota bars to help pay for the new Vikings stadium, the total sum intake for that project was zilch.

“You know, there were multiple errors made, and in hindsight, obviously we were terribly wrong,” Gov. Mark Dayton said at the time.

But not so fast – maybe the electronic games are just late-bloomers.

MPR reports daily average e-pulltab revenue was up 50 percent throughout the state through Halloween. One of the game vendors, Jon Weaver of Pilot Games, told MPR they're projecting $2.1 million in sales this month – up from $1 million months ago.

Weaver's first foray into the e-pulltab world – he founded Express Games, one of the state's initial gaming partners – did not go as planned. The Star Tribune reported Express Games opted to shut down all of its operations at all of its locations (about 120) by the end of July.

The e-pulltabs were branded a failure.

Overall, the state had initially projected $35 million in revenue, FOX 9 reported. That was cut to $17 million within months ... then slashed down to $1.7 million.

But Weaver moved on to create Pilot Games, and this week told MPR the newfound success is due to improved technology, combined with a focus on different, existing products.

According to the Minnesota Gambling Control Board's most recent report, the top-grossing electronic pulltab site for the 2014 fiscal year was Skarda's Bar in St. Paul, which pulled in about $940,000.

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