Electronic Gambling Takes Hold in the Valley - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Electronic Gambling Takes Hold in the Valley

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The state was expecting 2500 bars to sign up for the e- pull tab service by now, but to date, only about 200 have. This is supposed to be the key to paying for nearly 350 million dollars worth of the new Vikings stadium. But Mills Lounge in Dilworth is the closest bar to Moorhead who's signed up thus far, what gives? The owner, Rick Cariveau, says it's as easy as getting wi-fi in your bar and getting your staff to back it.

If you wanted to drop a couple bucks gambling at Mills Lounge a few months back, your option was paper pull tabs. Every time that box runs out, it costs the bar about 60 dollars just to refill it. A portion of the proceeds of course going to a local charity, in this case the Lions Club.

Rick Cariveau the owner explains how the gambling does help the community, "it helps the bar, helps the group I am involved with, for so many years it was just a no lose situation."

But sales for pull-tabs here are down, it's been headed that way for awhile. When the owner here heard about electronic gambling he figured why not.

"When something comes out like this and the jars are going down a little bit we were kind of hurting in some other ventures like stags.... So this was a major boost into our income." Says Cariveau.

The gambling manager for the Lions Club, Brent Kangas, says it's taken off, "we just thought it was something for the younger generation. All the kids are into electronics." Says Kangas.

Right now electronic pull tabs have taken in about 69 thousand dollars in just half a year. Coming far short from the anticipated 35 million thought to have been generated by years end. But being that Minnesota is the first state to try such an endeavor, Kangas says it shouldn't be a shocker that it went without any type of confusion or problems, "it's making it sound like it's a failure, I don't think it is. It'll go."

To date only three to four percent of Minnesota bars have jumped on board with electronic gambling but bars like Mills Lounge in Dilworth say it's successful in fact more successful than their paper version. If more bars would give it a shot management here says this electronic gambling could be a state wide success.

"Their not giving it a chance put it that way. There just not giving it a chance. This thing has been operational 6 to 7 months." Says Cariveau.

So why aren't bars giving it a shot? Bars would have to give a cut of their proceeds to the building of the stadium-- taking away from what many have already committed to local charities. But the owner here says the e-tabs are popular, meaning more money for everyone involved.

"People who've never been in here before now show up." Says Kangas.

This bar is in the top ten sellers of electronic pull tabs in the state. They say paper pull tab sales haven't been hurt by the e-tabs. But here, electronic is definitely more popular.

How much gaming money has gone to the stadium? Nothing... Yet.... They first have to sell out a box, 75 hundred "tickets" before the check is even sent in.... Some say there should be a monthly collection, so that the state doesn't have to wait sometimes months before collecting.

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