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Charitable gambling deal could be breakthrough for stadium plan

Minnesota House members have agreed to $36 million worth of tax relief for charitable gambling groups. The deal means those groups will support the introduction of electronic pull tabs, which will raise money for a new Vikings stadium. The House Commerce Committee will take up the new version of the stadium bill Monday evening.
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Minnesota House members have agreed to $36 million worth of tax relief for charitable gambling groups. The deal means those groups will support the introduction of electronic pull tabs, which will raise money for a new Vikings stadium. The House Commerce Committee will take up the new version of the stadium bill Monday evening.

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Vikings stadium bill advances through Minnesota House Commerce Committee

The Minnesota Vikings' stadium bill advanced through the House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee on a divided voice vote Monday night. The bill, revamped slightly, includes expanded gambling via electronic pull tabs and bingo at bars and restaurants, along with sports-themed betting "tip boards."

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More than 1,200 nonprofit groups generated about $80 million from paper pull-tab games in 2009. The Pioneer Press reports the state Department of Revenue predicts electronic pull-tabs would produce $72 million in new tax money. Charities are told they'll benefit from a significant tax relief, but the amount remains uncertain because it's still unclear how much of that $72 million will be needed to help finance a new NFL stadium in Minnesota.

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A new era in electronic gaming in the state could begin as soon as next week. The hand-held electronic pulltab devices that Minnesota is counting on to help finance its share of the new Vikings stadium may turn up in bars and restaurants Tuesday, provided the state's gambling control board approves them.

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According to the Star Tribune, the White Earth tribe is expected to introduce plans to build a casino in the metro-area that could help fund a Vikings stadium. The tribe claims the casino will raise enough money to pay for the public portion of a stadium, without raising new taxes.

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