MLBA Electronic Gaming Page

Information regarding the newly signed legislation authorizing Electronic Pull-tabs and Electronic Linked Bingo will be posted here.

Please scroll down to see:

  • UPDATED!! Map of MLBA Members with Electronic Pulltabs (updated 8/30/2013)
  • MLBA Members Top List of Electronic Gaming Sites (2/15/13)!
  • Why Bar Owners Should Get Electronic Gaming (1/15/13)
  • One Millionth Pulltab Sold (updated 10/24/12)
  • Electronic Pull-tabs are Up and Running! (updated 9/20/12)
  • MLBA Members with Electronic Pull-tabs (updated 9/20/12)
  • Pull Tab Gaming Approved by the State Board (9/18/12)
  • MPR Article: “Vikings stadium electronic pulltabs debut just weeks away”
  • MLBA’s Newest Allied Members, Electronic Pull-Tab manufacturer “Acres 4.0″ and Distributor “Express Games MN”
  • Electronic Gaming – What’s it All About?
  • Electronic Gaming Seminars a Big Hit with Retailers
  • Electronic Pull-tabs and Bingo F.A.Q. from the MN Gambling Control Board
  • An Article on New Forms of Gaming
  • More to Come!!

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Map of MLBA Members with Electronic Pull Tabs

The following is an Interactive Map of MLBA Members who have electronic pull-tabs in their establishments as of 8/30/13. This map will be updated as more sites get electronic pull-tabs.


View MLBA Members with Electronic Pulltabs in a larger map

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MLBA Members have 9 of Top 12 Electronic Gaming Sites in the State

Nine of the Top Twelve Electronic Gaming Sites from 2/1 – 2/15 are MLBA Members from the state Gambling Control Board (2/15/13)
Business, City, Charity

  • Porky’s, St Paul, MLBA Children’s Fund
  • Howie’s Sports Bar, St Cloud, St Cloud Youth Hockey Assn
  • Phat Pheasant, Windom, Prairie Ecology Bus Center
  • KC’s Saloon, Pillager, Pillager Lions
  • Sal’s Angus Grill, Stillwater, American Legion Bayport
  • Herby’s, Carlos, Carlos Lions
  • Monte’s, Spring Lake Park, Spring Lake Park Lions
  • Skinner’s Pub & Eatery, St. Paul, MLBA Children’s Fund
  • Double R Bar & Grill, Grey Eagle, Grey Eagle Burtrum Lions Club

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Why Bar Owners Should Get Electronic Gaming
(From the Jan/Feb 2013 PROOF Magazine Past President’s Report by Dan O’Gara)

You have probably seen or heard the news articles in recent days that electronic pulltabs are not bringing in the revenue that the state is relying on to pay for their portion of the new Vikings’ stadium.  The reason for this is not that people aren’t playing the games. I’ve had them in my bar since the first games were approved on Sept 18th and they have been very popular. The reason is that they have been slow to roll out in the over 5000 bars and restaurants in Minnesota where charitable gaming is allowed. As of this writing, only around 100 sites have the electronic games.  That’s less than 2 percent of eligible businesses.  (Update: As of 2/15/13 there are 168 sites with electronic gaming.)

Some say that the reason that the rollout has been slow is that there is only 1 approved distributor and manufacturer of the electronic pulltab games. Express Games MN and Acres 4.0 was the sole distributor/manufacturer.  They have been in my bar since September and have been great to work with.   At the last Gambling Control Board Meeting in December, two additional distributors and manufacturers were approved, this should help get more game sites online.

Some bar owners that I have spoken with claim another reason for the slow rollout is the requirement in the state law that bar owners provide a dedicated high speed Internet line.  I can tell you that concerned me at first, but after only a couple months of operation, I had already made enough from my charity in rent to totally pay for the install, the line and the wireless router.

Another fear of bar owners was that if you already have a “bar operation” (have your own employees sell pulltabs) that it would take time away from them making/selling drinks.  Again, this concerned me, but not after seeing how quickly and easy it is to add credits to a game machine. It takes about the same time to make one drink and exchange the money as it does to take $20 from a customer and load 20 credits onto the pulltab device (and of course check ID’s for under 21!!).

Another fear is that people would steal the machines, spill drinks on them or destroy the devices. I can tell you that after over 3 months in operation, not one machine has been stolen and folks take good care of them while playing.  If someone does try to steal one, it will be disabled as soon as it is out of wireless (wifi) range and it is a felony to steal gambling equipment.  Also, if one of the machines does break, my distributor will replace the machine for free.  Any remaining credits on the disabled machine will be shown on our point-of-sale, so the customer will not lose any game credits.

So I hope that my experience with this great new form of gaming will help allay the fears of fellow bar owners and you will consider getting your charity to put them in your bar.

Source: PROOF Magazine, Jan/Feb 2013

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One Millionth Electronic Pulltab is Sold Just One Month into Operation

The one millionth electronic pulltab was sold at approximately 9PM on October 23rd at MLBA Member, The Powerhouse Bar in Proctor, MN. To celebrate the event, the MLBA will donate $500 to the charity that runs the pulltab operation at the Powerhouse. “The MLBA is extremely proud to have led the charge for electronic pulltabs in Minnesota. This milestone has come earlier than anyone could have imagined and we are glad to donate to the Irving Community Association charity in Duluth.” exclaimed MLBA Executive Director Frank Ball.

Please read the following media on the Electronic Pulltabs:

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Electronic Pull-tabs are Up and Running! (9/18/12)

Several MLBA members have electronic pulltabs up and running this week starting on September 18th. O’Gara’s Bar & Grill and Mancini’s Char House in St. Paul as well as Howie’s Sports Bar in St. Cloud and CR Billiards in Coon Rapids will be the first sites to have the electronic pull tab games. Skinner’s Pub in St. Paul and Lucky’s 13 Pub in Mendota and Bloomington are starting on Sept. 20th. The MN Gambling Control Board voted on the morning of September 18th to approve 5 unique and fun to play video pull-tab games from Acres 4.0 and distributed by Express Games MN. The games will be played on Apple iPad devices.

Acres 4.0 and Express Games MN are the first two companies to be approved by the state Gambling Control Board. According to director Tom Barrett, several more companies have applied to supply electronic pull-tab games and they all must go through a rigorous application process with the board, so it may be a few months before additional companies are approved. Acres and Express games started the approval process with the state several months ago and according to their president Jon Weaver, plan to roll out several electronic pull-tab sites per week. We’ll keep a list of MLBA member sites that have electronic pull-tabs here on mlba.com.

If you want to get electronic pull-tab games in your bar or restaurant, have your charity’s gambling manager contact Express Games MN. If you do not have a charity in your bar or restaurant, we’d be glad to help you find one or get the MLBA Children’s Fund charity (a 501c3 charitable organization, with pulltab sites all across the state.) Just call Colin Minehart, Children’s Fund Executive Director at 651-289-5603 or email colin@mlba.com.

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MLBA Member Sites with Electronic Pull Tabs as of Sept. 20, 2012

  • Skinner’s Pub & Eatery, 919 Randolph Ave, St. Paul,
  • Lucky’s 13 Pub, 1352 Sibley Memorial Hwy, Mendota
  • Lucky’s 13 Pub, 1800 American Blvd W, Bloomington
  • O’Gara’s Bar & Grill, 164 N Snelling Avenue, St. Paul
  • Mancini’s Char House, 531 W 7th Street, St. Paul
  • Howie’s Sports Lounge, 101 9th Avenue N, St. Cloud
  • C.R. Billiards & Sports Lounge, 8525 Cottonwood Street NW, Coon Rapids
  • Monte’s Sports Bar, 8299 University Avenue NE, Spring Lake Park
  • … more to come in the weeks and months ahead!

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Articles from launch day

StarTribune article 9/19/12: link

PioneerPress article 9/19/12: link

St. Cloud Times article 9/19/12: link

Fox 9 TV Article with video: link

KARE11 TV Article with video: link

WCCO TV Article with video: link

KSTP news article with video 9/18/12: link

WJON – St, Cloud Article: link

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Pull-tab gambling approved by state board
by Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio, September 18, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Gambling Control Board approved electronic pull-tab gambling this morning. A new iPad-based version of the tradtional pull-tab games could start today at bars and restaurants that run charitable gambling.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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Vikings stadium electronic pulltabs debut just weeks away
by Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio

September 6, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Taxes on new electronic pull tabs are supposed to help pay for about one-third of the new Vikings stadium. And the games could be in gambler’s hands in Minnesota in less than two weeks. That’s the word from the Minnesota Gambling Control Board and from the first manufacturer given the go ahead to bring the pull tabs to this state.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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President’s Allied Member Spotlight from the Sep/Oct Proof Magazine

We have all heard the buzz regarding the new electronic pull-tabs that will be coming out soon. Whether you’re a charity, bar/restaurant owner, Vikings fan or maybe you just read the newspaper, chances are you know something about it.

On Monday, August 20, 2012, Minneapolis based Express Games MN, Inc. became the first electronic pull-tab Distributor to receive their license from the MN Gambling Control Board. Express Games MN, Inc. is the exclusive distributor and licensee for Acres 4.0 systems and games in Minnesota. In July of this year, Acres 4.0 became the first electronic pull-tab manufacturer to be licensed in Minnesota. In a concerted effort, they will provide fun, entertaining, secure and reliable gaming systems for electronic wagering. Games will be played on Apple tablets or other hand held devices and will be extremely easy-to-use for players and charity/bar operations.

Both Express Games and Acres 4.0 have become new Silver Allied Members of the MLBA, and value this important relationship. For more info, their websites are: www.express-games.com and www.acres4.com.

“The best part about all of this is that electronic pull tabs and linked bingo games will benefit many groups across the state.” says Jon Weaver co-founder of Express Games. “Large and small Minnesota charities will be able to operate this new technology. We pride ourselves on the simplicity and reliability of our system. Whether it helps with new team uniforms for the local youth hockey league or contributes to the countless good works of charitable organizations, we feel that we can bring positive change to this important industry.” says Weaver. “This will also be beneficial to bars and restaurants – and feel that it will help to get existing and new patrons excited … and help pay for a new Vikings Stadium!”

Express Games will be ready to launch their first games in September, pending Gambling Control Board approval. Acres 4.0’s products operate on Apple iPads® within licensed bars and taverns, offering exceptional player enjoyment and simplicity of operation. “There is understandable concern that electronic pull-tab games are too complex for players and charities to operate but our games are amazingly simple and fun,” explained Weaver. “Charities will find our system far simpler to operate than traditional paper products and we know that players will really enjoy our games.”

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Electronic Gaming – What’s it all about? by MN Gambling Control Board Director, Tom Barrett
MN Gambling Control Board Gaming News Jul/Aug/Sep Issue, Page 1

Since the approval of electronic gaming by the 2012 legislature there have been many calls, questions and issues that have been presented to the Board for consideration. From the very technical specifications of the devices to the accounting and play of the games, staff has been working very hard to develop the standards by which this new gaming format will play out. During the past month I have participated in various educational seminars around the state with industry representatives (Minnesota Licensed Beverage and Allied Charities) to help answer some of the questions and issues involving how electronic games might benefit charities in Minnesota. Here are some of the highlights from the informational meetings:

When will we see the new games?
The new gaming systems are being developed by various vendors. Before any game is offered for sale to the public, the games and related computer systems will be tested to the standards approved by the Board. Based on where we stand today, the first electronic games could be in active sales mode in mid to late September 2012.

How many devices can I have at my site?
The number of devices allowed will be based on seating capacity at each location based on local fire codes. For sites with less than 200 seating capacity, the maximum number of devices for e-tabs is six and same limit of six for e-bingo devices. For sites with 200 or more seats, the maximum allowance of devices is 12 for each type of game. For bingo halls (where the primary business is bingo) the maximum number of devices is 50 for each type of game.

What is the cost for these devices?
Based on what we know today, the devices and the computer software to run the games will be paid based on a percentage of actual sales with no “upfront” costs to the charity. Vendors are still in the early stages of product development and there has been no formal filing of any pricing reports for electronic games by any manufacturer or distributor.

What are some of the features of the electronic devices?
After the device has been activated for play, the player is free to choose from a variety of games based on ticket denomination ($.25 each to maximum of $5.00 each). The player is also able to play “win credits” and “cash out” at any time. Prize receipts are not required for electronic games (prize receipts are still required for paper pull-tabs games). The player will be able to see the game summary for each game in play but will not be able to see how many “big winners” are left in play – that game detail will be limited.

The devices are small and portable, what if someone takes one home?
Each device comes encrypted with security features and can only be used for gambling at the specific site. No other application is allowed on the device and external ports will be disabled. If a device goes outside the area of the wireless system, the central system will alert the sales location. Additionally, some devices are equipped with a GPS tracking chip. The devices are classified as “gambling equipment” and per the law, any unauthorized possession of the specifically designed device is a crime.

Will there be more accounting for these games?
As with paper, each game sold by a charity will need to be accounted for but with the new electronic game system, the accounting will be much more simplified. Separate cash banks will not be required. Bank deposits will be based on daily activity from all electronic games in play and the system will produce the majority of the needed inventory reports. (More details and training on game operation and reporting will follow in the coming months.)

Can I play linked bingo and electronic pull-tabs on the same device?
“Yes” is the short answer but it will depend on the specific vendor(s) selected by the charity for each site. Some vendors might have the capability to conduct both forms of gaming on one device or there could be separate devices for each type of game.

Where do I find more information on the changes coming?
Go to the Gambling Control Board’s website: www.gcb.state.mn.us

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Electronic Gambling Seminars a Big Hit with Retailers

In the summer of 2012, we made a statewide tour providing educational seminars on the details of the electronic form of pull tabs and bingo to our members, non members, and just about anybody that would listen to us about this new phase of gambling. MLBA held seminars in places like Duluth, St. Cloud, Rochester, Alexandria, Willmar and St. Paul. The seminars were well attended and bar and restaurant owners had many questions for us and our guest speakers from the state Gambling Control Board.

  • There is a great deal at steak regarding this massive project of electronic gaming, and we need the support of our members and non-members in keeping enthusiastic about this project.
  • These new electronic games are designed to be fun to play. They are designed for the younger adults that are coming into our businesses.
  • These new electronic games are high tech on tablet computers and have the latest in technology with new ideas and prototypes coming each month.
  • The Electronic Bingo games which are being developed at this very moment will make Minnesota the largest bingo hall on the planet with games being played all day and linked with over 1,500 other businesses.

We’re excited to be part of this new process and look forward to growing with this industry. This new bill will not only benefit the charities, but the veterans and the service organizations and our hospitality businesses over the entire state of Minnesota, while providing the means to fund the state’s share of the Viking’s stadium from taxes generate by the electric forms of gaming.

We will be showcasing many of our bars and service organizations in the upcoming months as they roll out the new games. We will keep you informed as to how the new games are played and hopefully show the increase in patronage of our small businesses. If you have questions regarding the new forms of gaming, give us a call at the MLBA and we’ll be sure to help you out. We are proud to announce that we now have gaming distributors as new Allied Members of the MLBA and support those folks that support us.

We need our members and non-members to be enthusiastic about the roll out of these devices which will be happening very soon. So, hold a press conference along with your charity, tell your friends, neighbors and your community to come out and experience the new fundraising equipment for the local charity.

Our goal at the MLBA is to bring patronage into your business and working with you as the owner and us as the association, we can bring some enthusiasm and new patrons to your business. So help us make this a huge success for our charities, the new Vikings Stadium and, of course, our bars and restaurants throughout Minnesota.

~ Frank Ball, MLBA Executive Director

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Frequently Asked Questions posted by the Minnesota Gambling Control Board on 5/25/12.

Click here for the FAQ

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New Forms of Gaming, Where Do We Go Now?
MLBA – June 2012 Newsletter Article

The Governor signed the Vikings Stadium Legislation into law on May 14, 2012. In that law, the Minnesota Charities, under the watchful eye of the Minnesota Gambling Control Board (GCB), were given the opportunity to participate in the newly crafted electronic pull tab legislation and the electronic linked bingo games in bars. This is an amazing breakthrough for the Minnesota Charities; the Minnesota veterans organizations; various fraternal and civic organizations, and our bars and restaurants throughout the entire State of Minnesota. Nothing is going to happen real soon. The GCB, who will oversee this new project won’t have anything up and running for a couple of months. They have a lot of moving parts in front of them right now, so please be patient. We’ll try to keep you posted through articles; web page information, and of course we’re here at the office to answer any questions you might have. Listed here are some frequently asked questions (FAQ) to get you started:

  • Bars with seating under 200 will be able to have six electronic pull tab devices to play and six bingo devices. Bars with seating capacity over 200 will be allowed to have up to 12 devices each.There are a number of details to work out with this new gaming format and the MN Gambling Control Board is actively engaged in laying the ground work for a successful launch but at this point, there is no definite time line (the bill was just signed by the Governor on May 14, 2012.
  • The manufacturers that make these machines are already developing their own game plan to provide their products to the state but each will first be required to have a criminal background check done and all equipment and software applications must be tested and approved by the MN Gambling Control Board before placement of any devices. The devices are small portable electronic devices, but cannot accept any coin or currency. All transactions will be done at a central sales location within each bar location (like a pulltab booth, behind the bar or possible there will be self serve kiosks).
  • The new electronic game format will allow for increased rent compensation based on estimates of increased play and patronage. Additional details concerning the various rent scenarios will be coming soon. Keep an eye on www.gcb.state.mn.us and on mlba.com for updates as we move forward.
  • The only requirement of the licensed bar owner will be to provide an Internet hook up for the devices.
  • It is expected that the charities will lease the devices from the licensed distributors and the lease will be based on actually usage/sales. Those details will still have to be worked out as this project unfolds.
  • There is no requirement to offer electronic games, it will be up to the charity in consultation with the bar to decide what they want to offer players but if electronic games is offered, paper games must be available for sale too. But with the new tax reform, the prize payouts on paper pull-tab games can be larger, which in turn will increase the popularity with players.
  • The electronic Bingo game will be “linked” to all other licensees’ in the state that will participate (including licensed Bingo halls), so the payout (prizes) will be large in that respect. The electronic linked Bingo games need not replace current paper Bingo games but will be played in addition to existing bar Bingo games.
  • This is a new concept to bring patronage into our bars, restaurants, service clubs, municipal on-sales, taverns, etc., so talk it up big and warm up to your charities because we’re all in this together to make it a fun event in our establishments and bring in revenue for the charities.
  • There has been much talk about the ‘Sports Boards’. There are still some legal issues that have to be addressed prior to the release of these games. More information will come soon regarding these devices.

Hope these answers your questions. If you need more info, give us a call or check out mlba.com, we’ll try to keep that as current as possible with questions from our members. Invite other bars in your area to become members of the MLBA, we put out a great deal of time and money to pull this off for our members, and all the bars and charities will benefit from this project (including non-members). Our Board of Directors were instrumental in this project as were others. We will try to showcase and provide media hype when the games are ready to go online with the first electronic forms of gambling in our bars. So warm up to those Charities and make this a big deal. Remember; The bonding of the state portion of the funds to bring the new Vikings Stadium to Minnesota is through the new revenue generated by the newly enacted electronic gambling in our bars. It will be up to the Charities and Bars to make this a fun experience and a memorable event for our customers.

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