Electronic pull tabs see slow start at MSP

1:02 PM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
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Sample electronic pull-tab device

MINNEAPOLIS - There are 157 operating locations offering electronic pull tab gambling, according to the Minnesota State Gambling Board. Officials said that 13 more are in the process of being activated.

That number is very short of the 2,500 sites that lottery officials had hoped for as a device for funding the state's portion of the new Vikings stadium; however, Gambling Board spokesperson Tom Barrett said they are optimistic because their "top ten" sites are producing more revenue per site than expected.

Barrett said that the licensing of more vendors, who make the tablet devices, may make the new form of gaming more attractive to more bars and restaurants around the state. Would-be E-pull tab locations have to install the necessary Internet and Wi-Fi connections to make the games work. That installation can cost about $1,000.

The most anticipated location for E-pull tabs is finally open, at least, in part. "Surdyk's Flights" wine and food location in the main concourse of Terminal 1 at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport has been open for one month. The Metropolitan Airports Commission intends to have up to five other locations selling the new pull tabs in the next few weeks.

"I would say it is kind of a slow start just because it is something new," said Derek Deitrich, Surdyk's employee. "It is hard to advertize, but we definitely see, the last few weeks, it has been picking up a lot."

"There are actually sometimes (airport) employees that come and play after their shift," Deitrich said. "On Saturday, we had a woman come in from Rochester and she heard about the pull tabs here so she dropped her husband off and was able to come in and play. She actually played for two hours and it was all because a bar in Rochester had the same system. She just wanted to come up here and try it."

The long-standing Minnesota Lottery booth in the main concourse is the busiest lottery location in the entire state. Lottery and gambling officials hope the E-pull tab locations, including Surdyk's, will echo that success.

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