Vikings stadium e-pulltabs: Per-machine revenue falling far short of expectations

e-pulltabs vikes rect.jpg
Think Vikings stadium drama at the Capitol was a relic of 2012? Think again.
When the plan was approved last May, officials expected the e-pulltabs funding the $348-million state portion of the Vikings stadium to generate $100 million a month. But from their September 18 debut through the end of last year, e-pulltabs generated just $4.1 million -- total.

SEE ALSO: Vikings stadium receives final approval from Minneapolis City Council on 7-6 vote

That figure, reported by MPR, might not be as scary as it sounds. On January 1, only 186 establishments had installed e-pulltab machines. The state ultimately expects that number to ballon to 15,400, with total revenue increasing accordingly.

But the latest numbers suggest that even if 15,400 establishments end up installing e-pulltab machines, their per-month revenue still probably won't amount to $100 million. MPR reports that the up-and-running machines are generating just $180 per day. The state expected $225.

All of this means it'll probably prove difficult to fill the state's stadium reserve fund with the $83 million originally projected to be in there by the end of 2017. Last month, the end-of-2017 number was revised down to $47 million, the Star Tribune reported.

These figures and projections will get their first legislative scrutiny today as the House Commerce Committee holds a hearing on the first four months of the e-pulltabs rollout effort.

And if it's ultimately concluded that e-pulltabs won't be sufficient to fund the state's portion of the $975 million Vikings stadium project? In the words of the Strib's Baird Helgeson, we could be in for another "divisive, complex fight over the issue at the Capitol."

But last month, Gov. Dayton advised patience. As more bars install e-pulltabs, Dayton said he expects the revenue situation to "resolve itself." Time will tell, but the early indications aren't promising.

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11 comments
Rob Hebzynski
Rob Hebzynski

I may not be quite that old, but I sell pulltabs. So yeah. Not a shocker.

Eric Shawn Smith
Eric Shawn Smith

Rob is so old he was able to predict Lincoln's assassination.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

I guess this means we will have to legalize pot to pay for the stadium. 

ludwitr
ludwitr

WTF is an e-pulltab?  is it like sitting in the corner of the bar by yourself and playing video poker?

Matthias Weigel
Matthias Weigel

Part of the fun of pull tabs is the tactile part of actually opening them...I would never play the e version.

Courtney Klos
Courtney Klos

e-pulltabs aren't even real, so it's no wonder they don't magically generate revenue to pay for a stadium.

Rob Hebzynski
Rob Hebzynski

This is not at all shocking. In fact, before they were introduced I predicted they would be a novelty, and sales would then drop off dramatically.

Lance Hagen
Lance Hagen

They need more promotion and advertising. I have no clue when I walk into the establishments whether this is there or not! A couple simple signs like "E-Pulltabs are Now Here" would help.

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