Will adding an e to bingo spell stadium money?

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Minnesota's Gambling Control Board has approved electronic bingo games, which are expected to start filtering into the state's bars and restaurants soon.

The technology allows players at different locations to compete against each other for jackpots that state officials say will range up to $75,000.

An executive with the St. Paul company that will provide the bingo games tells the Star Tribune he expects they will prove more popular than electronic pull tabs, which E-Tab Manufacturing also makes. He thinks the bigger jackpots available through the linked bingo games will attract more players than the modest payouts available with pull tabs.

Taxes on the electronic versions of charitable gambling are what Minnesota plans to use to pay the $348 million the state has committed toward construction of a new stadium for the Vikings. But so far, revenue from the pull tabs is running far short of what state budget officials had forecast.

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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.

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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.