People Still Choosing Paper Over Electronic Pull Tabs

Posted at: 02/18/2013 10:42 PM
Updated at: 02/18/2013 10:45 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- This past year paper pull tab sales in Minnesota hit close to the one billion dollar mark. A prime example of why the state thought electronic pull tabs could cover the state's roughly $350 million share toward the new Vikings Stadium. However, the games haven't been catching on as quickly as people thought.

Many come to Recreation Lanes in Rochester to win big. Rolling a strike, and by playing their pull tabs. There they've got two options, your standard cardboard pull tabs that you rip open, or electronic ones.

"Last fall we got the (electronic) pull tabs," said manager of Recreation Lanes, Brenda Trom. They were one of the first in the region to hop on board with the electronic pull tabs used to cover the state's costs for the Vikings Stadium.

Others have since caught on. "We got them about a week ago," said gambling manager at the Rochester Eagles Club, Rod Toomey. Many jumping on the bandwagon a lot slower than the state had projected though. The state, nowhere near its goal.

"Not as busy as I thought it would be," said Trom. Plus, the places that do have electronic pull tabs say the paper ones are beating them out 3-to-1.

"I think of your traditional players, they all love the cardboard," said Toomey.

"Most of the time I’ll play the paper ones," said pull tab player Mike Littlefield.

A big reason why people say they buy paper pull tabs, is because they tell you how many are in the box and what winnings are left. "You don't know what are left in the boxes, where in the paper ones, they usually mark them off and you have an idea of what's left," said Littlefield.

'They like to know how much is paid out of the boxes, you know how many winners are left they like to know that. O the 'E- Tab,' it doesn't tell that," said Trom.

Besides that, it's the exact same concept. It's just a matter of getting people to switch over. "We've had some traditional players that'll play these but I think long-term, I'm just not so sure the market is going to do it," said Toomey.

"Some people don't like change," said Trom.

The games were projected to rake in $34 million dollars in 2012, but ended up at only $16 million. Even so, those at Recreation Lanes say people are catching on, just slowly. Their first month with the new pull tabs, about $26,000 had been played, and this past month, just more than $37,000.