Gambling business projections for pulltab sales exaggerated, paper reports

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Projections that showed electronic pulltab sales would find immediate success and fund the Vikings stadium were based largely on estimates made by gambling businesses with an interest in the untested form of gaming.

The Star Tribune's story says that sales estimates were based on gambling devices from other states, made by national gambling equipment managers and vendors. The estimates became the foundation for the Department of Revenue’s projection that the new games would raise $35 million for stadium funding by the end of 2013. In November, that figure was revised to $17 million. Last month it dropped to $1.7 million.

Estimates turned out to be so inflated that they’ve undermined the funding formula for the state’s $348 million share of the stadium. State officials have acknowledged they may have to come up with an alternative funding source.

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Electronic pulltab games to help stadium financing could start next week

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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Minnesota's 18 Indian casinos bring in an estimated $15 billion a year. Part of this revenue could help finance a new Vikings stadium, but it's still unclear if the Governor and GOP leaders will consider expanding casino gambling to an off-reservation site. The Star Tribune reports tribal leaders and a battalion of lobbyists are preparing for a potentially fierce battle at the State Capitol.

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The Pioneer Press reports lawmakers are leaning toward using electronic pulltabs to pay for the state's share. Republican Sen. Julie Rosen says a group of legislators trying to put together a package feels that the other leading option -- slot machines at racetracks -- wouldn't get enough support.