Malfunction prompts temporary shutdown of e-bingo

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The first electronic linked bingo games intended to help fund the new Vikings stadium have been sent back to the manufacturer because of a computer glitch.

E-bingo allows players at different locations to compete against each other for jackpots that can range up to $75,000.

The Star Tribune reports the games were being tested in a half dozen bars and restaurants but would occasionally display a random image when a new player logged on.

John Burger, spokesman for e-tab Manufacturing in St. Paul, says they hope the games will be back from the lab this week. The company was aiming to launch e-bingo statewide on April 1.

The state's original revenue projections of $35 million a year from electronic bingo along with e-pull tabs are proving to be way off the mark, with less than $2 million brought in so far.

Legislators are looking for alternatives to electronic gambling to cover the $348 million the state has committed to the nearly $1 billion stadium.

Gov. Mark Dayton has said the revenue could still bounce back as the games catch on.

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Bingo, pull-tabs: Rolling the dice for stadium funding

A plan to install electronic bingo and pull-tab machines in bars and restaurants is a popular suggestion when it comes to how the state could raise the money for a new Vikings stadium. But at least one expert says it would be a big gamble. The only revenue estimates we have are based on current sales, and no one can guess how customers will react to the new games.