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. We will also be hosting educational seminars very soon all across the state and would encourage anyone who will be involved in the gaming to attend. We’ll try to stay as current as possible. 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 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 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 (similar to what is done now).
• The new electronic game format will allow for increased rent compensation based on estimates of increased play and patronage. Additional details coming the various rent scenarios will be coming soon.
• The only requirement of the licensed bar owner will be the 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 will be no changes to the paper pull tab games and operations. With the new tax reform, the prize payout on games will be larger, making these games more popular for players.
• The electronic bingo game will be ‘linked’ to all other licensees’ in the state that will participate, so the payout (prizes) will be large in that respect. The electronic linked bingo games will be played in addition to existing bar bingo games.
• This is a new concept to bring patronage into our hospitality stores, 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 bars and bring in revenue for the charities.
Hope these answers your questions. If you need more info, give us a call or check out our web page, we’ll try to keep that as current as possible with questions from our members….and…..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 line 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. We will be coming to your communities soon to inform you on more details. Remember, we ‘must’ be enthusiastic about this project. We need you to be our cheerleaders in your communities.
If you have questions, we have answers. Contact Frank Ball 651 289 5600 or Tony Chesak 651 289 5602, and remember, your membership pays for all these things that we do for our retail stores and members.