Tuesday July 17 2012 : ‘ON PREMISES' ELECTRONIC GAMING MOOTED IN MINNESOTA
Revenues could help finances on new Vikings stadium
On Monday Minnesota regulators approved guidelines for new electronic "on premises" gambling devices that could provide revenue to assist finances on the new Vikings stadium, according to a report from the Associated Press news agency.
The state Gambling Control Board voted unanimously for the standards, resisting calls from the charitable gambling industry to slow the rollout until more is known about how the hand-held devices will work on implementation, which could be as early as the fall of 2012.
Minnesota lawmakers have approved the new initiative to widely offer electronic pull-tabs and linked bingo, where players in multiple locations vie for a common pot of money. The state expects tax revenues from traditional pull-tabs and bingo to more than double, from $37 million to almost $95 million, when the electronic games are fully operational, enabling assistance on state borrowing of the nearly $1 billion for the Vikings stadium.
Gambling board executive director Tom Barrett, told Associated Press that he's heard from at least a dozen manufacturers vying for a share of the Minnesota market. Many, he said, wanted to know what the standards were before pressing ahead.
The Board's standards cover everything from what types of animation can be used to alert winners, to the sophisticated encryption technology that must be incorporated in the system.
On Monday the board approved the licence of the first potential game maker, Las Vegas-based Acres 4.0., which is aiming to have pull-tab games on iPads ready for use in Minnesota soon.
Company founder John Acres said his firm is prepared to outfit up to 10,000 devices to ship to Minnesota within six months and he's planning to install a computer server in the state next month to comply with state requirements that servers must be based in Minnesota.
Acres said: "We have to start. We have to presume there is a desire to go forward. I'm happy to put the server in in August even if it takes until November or December to be deployed. Our hope is we can have everything done and running in September."
The board voted to allow agency staff to consider writing the standards as formal rules later on, a process that allows for more public comment and puts the requirements on firmer legal footing.