Least surprising Star Tribune lead of the year:
Six months after the state approved a plan to fund a new Vikings stadium with charitable gambling, sales of electronic pulltabs and bingo are running nowhere near initial projections.
Gross revenues for the games are $7.5 million — just over one-fifth the $35 million projected last May. Projections for tax revenue from all charitable gambling, forecast at $17 million this fiscal year, are expected to be scaled back with Thursday’s state budget forecast.
That's gross revenues, of course. Net revenues are a lot less. And why is it failing? Again, the answers aren't particularly surprising:
Getting the electronic games into bars and restaurants has been stalled by long waits for background checks and license approvals for manufacturers and vendors. Plus, there’s been little to no product competition or marketing, and many charities have been waiting for their own game vendors to get licensed.
Red tape? Here in the land of the Minnesota Miracle? And worse, reality is harshing the mellow over in St. Paul:
“I think the projections were just too high, which is unfortunate because we are judging success or failure on them,” said Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, chair of the House Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, which oversees gambling.
No, Representative Atkins, that's not it. What's really unfortunate is the state is on the hook for at least $348 million for the Vaseline Dome and there's no way to pay for it except for raising taxes, on top of all the other things that the Lege is trying to do right now.
I'd suggest a $1000 monthly surcharge to anyone who showed up in the Capitol last year wearing purple face paint or Helga Braids. While some might consider such a measure to be a little punitive, it would have a better chance of funding the stadium than electronic pull tabs, however.
Meanwhile, Ed Kohler, who has been uniformly excellent in his analysis of this boondoggle, has a few thoughts on the worthies who are involved in this "charitable" enterprise. Give it a read.
Cross-posted anc comments welcome at Mr. Dilettante's Neighborhood.