Revenues generated by electronic pulltabs — which are expected to pay the state’s share of the new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings — aren’t meeting projections. The state budget forecast, released on Wednesday, predicted that the new form of charitable gambling will raise just $16 million in Fiscal Year 2013, which concludes next June 30. That’s less than half of the annual $34 million initially anticipated.
Estimates for revenues in each of the next two biennial budget cycles have also been reduced by $4.5 million a year, or 7.7 percent. The budget report blamed the shortfall primarily on fewer bars adding the games than anticipated. “The forecast reduction reflects a slower than expected implementation of electronic gaming options and reduced estimates for daily revenue per gaming device,” the report stated.
It’s too early to tell whether the lower-than-expected revenue figures will endanger the feasibility of electronic pulltabs as the primary funding mechanism for the stadium. Gov. Mark Dayton‘s office has sought to tamp down concerns. In a note to reporters on Tuesday, deputy chief of staff Bob Hume suggested that the lower revenue stems largely from a slow rollout of the charitable gambling program. “Once the electronic gaming is fully implemented, there is no reason to assume that revenues will not achieve expectations,” Hume wrote
Dayton said on Wednesday that there are untapped markets that are eligible for the e-pull tab games, such as Cub Foods. “I think we’re going to have to go out and market the opportunity. I think we’ll catch up. We’re a little behind now. But we’ll get there,” Dayton said.
On Thursday Dayton told the Associated Press that he thought it was too soon to discuss reopening the stadium bill to make changes. “I wouldn’t favor it until it becomes absolutely necessary. And I don’t think it is at this point, ” he said.