Dayton, charities: Vikings stadium pull-tabs need more time

Tax collections from electronic pull-tabs that are supposed to pay for the state’s share of a new Vikings stadium are coming in far short of projections.

There were supposed to be 900 locations featuring electronic pull-tabs by Feb. 1, but there are actually only 130, according to the new budget forecast released today.

State finance officials say they now estimate each of those sites will generate about $100 dollars per day. That’s less than half of what they originally projected.

Overall gambling revenue will fall $46 million short of earlier projections by 2015, according to the forecast.

Gov. Mark Dayton expressed concern about the projections, but he said he expects significant improvement by this time next year.

“I think everybody made their best attempt to do it and get it right and now we’ve got to figure out how to correct that so we can make up that difference,” Dayton said.

Dayton said he sees no need to reopen stadium negotiations, and said there are fallback revenue sources built into the original legislation, including new lottery games and a surtax on stadium suites.

Officials with the charities that operate electronic pull-tabs say they just need more time to get them up and running.

Minnesota is the first state in the nation to offer electronic pull tabs, noted Allen Lund, executive director of Allied Charities of Minnesota. Lund conceded it’s been a “painful process to date,” but he predicted an eventual turnaround.

“We’re confident that when all the players that want to play– and there’s 10 of them that are now on the sidelines waiting to get approved–the charities will come through and we will show you what we can do,” Lund said. “It’s far too early in the process to be assigning blame or coming up with plan B’s.”