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Minn. Senator Calls for Full Investigation into E-Pull Tabs

Posted at: 03/28/2013 7:45 PM
Updated at: 03/29/2013 7:43 AM
By: Jay Kolls

A Minnesota lawmaker wants to find out why early revenue projections for electronic pull tabs are extremely low. The e-pull tabs are supposed to take care of the $350 million the state owes as part of the $1 billion new Vikings Stadium.

State Sen. Sean Nienow, (R) Cambridge, wants a legislative investigation to find out why the e-pull tab numbers are coming in so low and who made such poor projections in the first place. Sen. Nienow says the only other option, as a safety net to e-pull tabs, is a sports-themed lottery.

Sen. Nienow says that means the state could, possibly, choose an expanded version of e-pull tabs that would be similar to electronic slot machines. Nienow says that would mean "mini-casinos would be popping up all over the state in bars and convenience stores authorized to sell lottery tickets."

Nienow says the only other safety net option to e-pull tabs is a tax on luxury suites in the new stadium, but that could not be used until the stadium is built. Sen. Nienow says that leaves the sports-themed lottery as the only viable option right now to cover any potential e-pull tab shortfalls.

Minnesota Lottery Director, Ed Van Petten, says it is not likely the state would use a form of electronic slot machines to help fund the stadium. He says the legislation, as it is currently written, would not allow the Lottery to do such a thing. Van Petten says it would most likely be a sports-themed scratch-off lottery ticket. But, Van Petten admits that would only bring in about $2.5 million.

Sen. Nienow says if the e-pull tabs come in, for example, $10 million lower than projected, the $2.5 million from the scratch-off game would not be enough to cover it and the stadium legislation would have to be revisited.