E-pull-tabs hit Minn. bars to fund Vikings stadium

Published 9:23 am Wednesday, September 19, 2012

ROSEVILLE  — Gamblers tried out Minnesota’s first electronic pull-tab games Tuesday in a handful of bars, as a new form of small-dollar gambling intended to help pay for a $975 million Vikings stadium ventured into the marketplace.

Five games including “Treasures of the Jungle” and “Mystic Sevens” were available at O’Gara’s Bar and Grill in St. Paul and four other locations Tuesday afternoon, hours after the state Gambling Control Board approved the electronic pull-tabs at a packed meeting in Roseville. The games cleared their last regulatory hurdle with no debate and no drama, and attention quickly shifted to the rollout of the brightly colored, animated wagers on iPads.

Minnesota becomes the first state to widely offer electronic pull-tabs in bars and restaurants for charitable causes ranging from youth sports to services for the disabled.

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The electronic games are based on the paper pull-tabs that charities have long sold in bars. Suppliers of the games said they hope to lure younger gamblers who haven’t yet developed paper pull-tab, lottery scratch-off or casino slot machine habits. John Acres, founder of Las Vegas-based Acres 4.0, the games’ manufacturer, said his company plans to continue developing new electronic pull-tabs as it tailors its offerings to gamblers’ tastes.

“Our goal is to introduce new things every month, then measure and see what the consumers like and give them more of what they like and less of what they don’t,” he said.