Troubles continue for electronic pulltabs in Vikings stadium finance plan

iPod Touch pulltabThe latest figures from the Minnesota Gambling Control Board show the games continue to roll out — they were in 167 sites at the end of February, with 823 machines up and running. And they just missed a $2 million record for the month. That’s the good news.

But at the same time, the roll out rate actually SLOWED in February, slipping by almost a third from the site-per-day January rate.

That’s not the direction state officials were hoping the trend line would go last month, as they asked for patience in the wake of disappointing pulltab revenues.

The state’s finance experts basically wrote off a reserve fund they’d hoped to be building up before the stadium bonds are sold later this year.

Here’s a look at the numbers, including the end of month devices and sites, the roll-out rate. THe other numbers show averages for daily handle, the net after winnings are paid out and what the daily averages look like per site and per device:

Month Devices Sites New Sites Per Day Daily Gross Daily Net Gross Per Site Net Per Site Gross Per Device Net Per Device
Sept. 86 12 1.00 $21,165 $3,398 $2,437 $395 $319 $52
Oct. 256 55 1.39 $34,412 $5,198 $1,084 $165 $201 $31
Nov. 336 75 0.67 $44,884 $6,993 $693 $108 $152 $24
Dec. 433 94 0.61 $47,663 $7,140 $569 $85 $127 $19
Jan. 690 140 1.48 $55,494 $8,516 $495 $75 $104 $16
Feb. 823 167 0.96 $69,117 $10,023 $446 $65 $91 $13

It’s looking more and more likely the stadium finance plan is going to need those backup revenues that state finance commissioner Jim Schowalter talked about this week.

One is a “sports-themed” lottery, perhaps like the 2010 Vikings scratch-off game. That netted the state about $1.5 million after prizes and fees, although Minnesota State Lottery officials say a new game doesn’t have to be a scratch off, and could come in any number of formats.

Another backup is a luxury suite tax. But at $1,000 each, or about $100 a head for 10-seat suite, (150 suites are planned for the new stadium), that’s only about $1.5 million more per 10-game Vikings season, or about 5 percent of the estimated debt service on the stadium bonds.