Another vote for the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium is scheduled to take place on Friday and it is expected to yield a favorable return because of the new stadium's capability to hold various events in addition to Vikings games. In other words, the Minnesota City Council sees different ways for the stadium to make money when the Vikings aren't playing there eight weeks out of the year. That's a given.
However, the e-gambling that Minnesota is implementing for bar gambling and hoping will help pay for the stadium is a risk.
Minnesota is betting big that bringing technology to small-dollar bar gambling will draw a surge of new players whose wagers will help build a $975 million football stadium for the Vikings.
But even those involved in the charitable gambling industry question whether the customers and the money will be there when paper pull-tabs and bingo are translated into animated games on portable electronic devices. And legislators were concerned enough to include backup financing in the new stadium law in the form of a sports-themed lottery and a stadium suite tax.
"I'd be shocked if it's successful," said Roger Richter, who oversees gambling for the Burnsville Lions Club, one of the state's top-grossing charitable gambling operations. "I don't think it's going to make the money that everybody thinks it's going to make."
Lawmakers approved the bill for the stadium based on projections for annual tax returns on pull-tabs and bingo, which suggest the dollar signs will double, but that hasn't prevented concerns from arising.
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