Think electronic bingo's a flop? Don't tell Eveleth's $71,000 winner


Maybe there's an E in bingo, after all.

An electronic bingo player using an iPad at an Eveleth bar won a cool $71,000 over the weekend, state lottery officials tell FOX 21.

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Margie Koivunen, the owner of Margie's Roosevelt Bar, tells the Star Tribune a regular customer was playing the bingo game called Voodoo Guru when "she looked down and said 'I got it, I got it!' "

Electronic bingo and its cousin, e-pulltabs, are modern variations of paper games long played at Minnesota bars and restaurants that have raised money for charitable causes.

The electronic versions are probably best known for falling far short of revenue projections that were once expected to raise most of the state's share of construction of the new Vikings stadium.

Minnesota quickly found different sources for its stadium funding. But now that electronic bingo and pulltabs are out of the limelight, the revenue they're raising seems to be on the rise.

The Star Tribune says the Gambling Control Board reports gross sales last month were $5 million, up from $1.2 million in July of 2014.

A story published by last September noted that Minnesota was the first state to jump into electronic pulltabs in 2012.

Margie Koivunen's bar has frequently been among the state's top 10 monthly sellers of e-pulltabs, Watchdog says. She told the site: “It’s like anything, you have to sell them. You have to kind of guide people, know how they work, know what you’re selling.”

Voodoo Guru is made by Pilot Games. Watchdog says the company was initially only a distributor of electronic pulltabs and bingo, but expanded into manufacturing when the Las Vegas company that made Minnesota's first games dropped out amid disappointing early results.

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After one month, electronic pull tabs look like a winner

Electronic pull tabs pulled in more than $600,000 in Minnesota during the first month of the new games. The Gambling Control Board heard a report detailing the spread of the games to bars and restaurants around the state. Some of the revenue from the games will pay the state's portion of a new Vikings stadium.