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Minnesota Lottery pitches iPad play at MSP restaurants

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Travelers who pass through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport may soon be able to gamble on 2,500 ­electronic tablets, courtesy of the Minnesota Lottery.

The Star Tribune reported a new proposal would have the state agency sharing gambling earnings with OTG Management, the concessions firm that installed iPads at airport restaurants. They let travelers order food, check flight times and surf the web. The Associated Press reports that airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said the tablets could be adapted to sell Powerball and Mega Millions tickets along with electronic versions of scratch-off games.

Hogan confirmed Monday that the plan is under consideration by the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which could take up the proposal next month.

Another lottery contractor would take a cut of the earnings and the airport would likely take a percentage as well. Officials haven’t estimated total revenues. The financial arrangements are ­similar to those involving lotto sales at gas pumps and ATMs. Gamblers at the airport would be held to $50 in wagers a week.

Officials recently delayed the electronic rollout at MSP because of concern to that electronic lottery games would take customers away from a nonprofit that sells paper lottery tickets and paper pulltabs at the airport to raise money for travelers assistance.

The airport already offers electronic pulltabs on tablets at six other locations. The Airport Foundation is expected to sell $24,000 this year in electronic pulltabs to raise revenue for stadium. In September, it was revealed that electronic pulltabs that had been introduced to raise some of the state's share for the new Vikings Stadium turned out to be a flop. On the one-year anniversary of the devices, reports surfaced that the devices had raised absolutely no money, although $35 million had been projected as the state's take. Even though players shelled out about $15 million to play the e-games, 85 percent of that was returned to them in prizes. The remaining amount went to charity expenses, donations and taxes. Gov. Mark Dayton said at the time, "We were terribly wrong," in the state's prediction of the revenue stream.

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