Electronic Bingo Games Delayed in Minnesota

Last spring Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and the state legislature exploited a legal loophole to approve $348 million in public financing to build a new stadium for the Vikings. The majority of the state’s share will come from revenues generated by gaming machines to be placed in bars and restaurants. Not everyone is happy with the idea. Last year when gambling machines were first proposed ThinkProgress published an article that stated “the owners of the National Football League’s Minnesota Vikings are about to fleece an unwilling Minnesota public for hundreds of millions of dollars, as they push to secure public subsidization of a new stadium. A deal is reportedly “imminent.” A poll taken in February 2012 showed that 68% of all Minnesota residents believe the new stadium should be built with private sector financing.

Minnesota residents waiting for the electronic bingo games will have to wait a little bit longer according to recent news reports. It will be at least another month since the Minnesota Gambling Control Board delayed approval of the first electronic bingo games. The electronic pull tabs and bingo games were approved by the legislature last year to boost charitable gaming in the state and to finance the new stadium. So far there are no clear figures on just how much the new stadium will cost players and taxpayers.

The first linked electronic bingo games did not get approval because they were not certified as meeting state game standards. Tom Barrett, executive director of the Gambling Control Board stated “I was hopeful we could have these games today. Am I hopeful for next month? Yes.” The bingo games will have much bigger prizes than the video pull tab games that were introduced in September 2012. Many charitable gaming managers said they believe the electronic bingo games will be well received by customers at bars and restaurants. The pull tab games have fallen short of original expectations.

St. Paul based E-tab Manufacturing had hopes its application would be approved by now but the state is moving slowly. E-tab submitted its application package last summer for pull tabs and bingo said Jim Landsem, managing partner for the company. In December the Gaming Board approved the pull tab games which are now in 50 bars throughout the state. Landsem said he hopes the bingo games can be certified by the next Gambling Control Board meeting in March. Another bingo game manufacturer, St. Louis based Electronic Games Solutions,, is hoping to roll out a new bingo game and get it approved by the gaming board.