This little bar right here may be doing more to build a new Vikings stadium than just about any place else in Minnesota right now. It's Porky's Bar on Payne Avenue in St. Paul. There's just 40 seats, four iPads and a pair of iPod Touch games in there, but it's leading the pack for electronic pulltab betting so far in February. It was #2 last month, with more than $82,000 dollars in bets.
The secret to its success? Winning over customers with new games and word of mouth, says Colin Minehart, the gambling manager with the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association's Children's Fund. He runs the gambling operations at Porky's.
"I put some new games in the machine, they'll go take pictures with their cell phones and put in on their Facebook, and send it out to their friends, and let 'em know we got new fresh games here, we've got action going on. They get people excited about coming in and socializing. It's the sociability of it that we're missing. Everybody's got their head wrapped around like this is some big gambling thing like you're going to the casino. That's not it at all. It's about coming in and creating more excitement and action and patronage in our small businesses."
He says part of the reason the games aren't hitting their revenue targets may be the link to the Vikings stadium. Minehart says it gives the games the air of high finance and puts inordinate pressure on the games to get up and running. But he thinks Minnesotans will be sold on them eventually, and they'll work.
The bar is one of two in St. Paul that were in the Top 10 for sales in January. The other was Skinner's Pub on Randolph Avenue.
Here's the list:
Source; Minnesota Gambling Control Board
And you can take a virtual tour of the biggest sellers for January right here: