State's stadium revenue booster delayed

The state's gambling board delayed the introduction of electronic bingo, which will also delay increased revenues for the state's share that funds the Vikings stadium.

Electronic bingo games at bars and restaurants throughout Minnnesota, which were expected to be as popular as the electronic pull-tab games, were delayed Tuesday at a meeting of the Minnesota Gambling Control Board. That was one of the state's revenue generators to help pay its portion of the Vikings' new stadium.

The bingo version of gaming is expected to become popular because it is an interactive game – players from different locations lining up to play the game against one another simultaneously. As such, the prizes that can be won are much bigger than the video pull-tab machines. With the revenue generated by the pull-tab game, which was released in September on a limited basis, far less than anticipated, gaming proponents are banking on the bingo game being the savior of the gaming package by getting far more people involved and generating much more money.

The problem is simple. It would appear that the creators of the game are still working out some of the potential bugs in the system. Approval and official licensing by the MGCB was delayed until at least March.

Three competing companies – one from St. Paul, one from St. Louis and another from Rancho Mirage, Calif. – are all seeking approval of their own e-bingo games. However, to date, the MGCB has yet to approve and officially license any of the three.

The latest setback in implementing the state's funding mechanism for the new stadium is just the latest evidence of how much more efficient some businesses are than others. The Vikings have already put the key components in place and are ready to go. More than nine months after legislative approval of a new stadium – and the state's formula for coming up with its share of the funding – the electronic gaming industry is operational in merely 50 bars and restaurants throughout the state. One would anticipate that the bigger cities would have 50 locations each with the e-games at this stage.

THURSDAY NOTES

  • The Vikings-related media schedule has been announced at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Rick Spielman is scheduled to conduct a press conference at 11:15 a.m. (local time) today and head coach Leslie Frazier is scheduled to speak at 10:15 a.m. Central Friday.

  • From the Hollywood Rag-Sheet Department comes this: one of the hot topics in the TV world is that NBC, which shocked the media world by going from worst to first in the fall television ratings, has fallen like a stone over the last two months. The culprit? The loss of Sunday Night Football. NBC's domination of Sunday night is alleged to have had a carryover effect on the rest of the network schedule. Without the NFL, NBC has found its way back into the ratings basement in a big hurry.

  • The 2013 salary cap could be more than $1 million higher than earlier projections. That may not seem like much, but when the number goes from $121 to a projected $122 million – a 0.8 percent increase – it adds $32 million to the free-agent pool and will likely get a lot of aging vets who may not otherwise get a shot to play in 2013 incentive-laden deals to give it "one last run."


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.


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