ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Originally, the state had expected to make $34 million from sales of electronic pull tabs in 2012. A new budget forecast now puts that number at $16 million. Etabs were approved in May as the state's main way of paying its share of a new Vikings/People's Stadium.
"It's just getting underway and the fact that it's lagging behind projections in the real world is to be expected," Governor Mark Dayton told KARE 11's Scott Seroka. "The sites where it is operating now report very successful usage. I just think there's just some logistical issues that need to be resolved and I think once it gets going I think it'll be very successful," the Governor added.
We went to the state's Gambling Control Board to learn more about the logistical issues. "I think the biggest concern is the rate at which the equipment has been rolled out," Executive Director Tom Barrett said. "The charities and the bar locations know there are more vendors coming in and they want to see what else is out there," Barrett also explained.
Minnesota is the first in the nation to offer the Etabs and will be a model that many other states are sure to follow. Barrett says vendors were slow to apply and charities and bars had a little bit of a "wait and see" approach.
"Would we like to be further along as far as number of sites having charitable gaming right now? Absolutely. But our focus is on the integrity of the games, the vendors, and the products that are going to be out there," Barrett concluded.
He also said more vendors are lining up and there should be more Etab games in more taverns by early next year. It is being offered in 75 taverns right now but had been expected to be in between 150 and 300 bars at this point in the program.
Governor Dayton says he's not worried. "I certainly don't think there is any reason for concern right now," he said.