How low can electronic pulltabs go? Minnesota may find out


Another month, another slide for electronic pulltabs. That billion dollar-plus vision the state had back in 2012 seems to be slipping away altogether this summer.

The chart above shows one of the games' critical financial markers, the daily "per device" gross sales average, calculated from data provided by the Minnesota Gambling Control Board.

That average was projected in 2012 to be $225 for about 15,400 devices across the state. An MPR News analysis of gambling control board data shows that average fell to $43.65 for July -- less than 20 cents on the dollar of what was projected.

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Part of that has to do with the season -- summer is a slow time for gambling.

But the number has been on a steady decline for 10 months and continued to slip despite a nine city "road show" marketing push in June from Allied Charities of Minnesota.

Minnesota added only 16 electronic pulltab sites in July and just 28 electronic pulltab machines, according to the gambling control board. It's the second-slowest month on record for the roll out of the games.

Electronic pulltab revenue was supposed to be the way Minnesota painlessly financed the $400 million public share of the new Vikings football stadium. The early returns on pulltabs were dismal enough that lawmakers decided to find alternative financing for most of Minnesota's share of the stadium debt.

Here's the gross sales figures, also as provided by the MGCB: