Last March, conservative bloggers – Gary Gross, me, and others – warned you that the Dayton Administration’s plan to use gambling revenue to build the stadium was pure vapor, and that Ted Mondale (of the Sports Facilities Commission) was blowing smoke up Minnesota’s collective skirt, since gambling revenues have been shrinking, not growing. Charitable gambling revenues have been falling off for years; the Administration’s plan involves having gambling receipts double. Immediately.
Yesterday we noted that the Administration is starting to walk back the shell game. And now we’re discovering that the main venue for the electronic pull tabs that the Administration is counting on – veterans clubs – just aren’t adopting the new toy.
Dave Thul, writing at True North, is on the story:
So the question is why Legions and VFW’s are so unlikely to move into E-tabs? The answer is complicated, but boils down to three main reasons. First, demographics. The average gambling manager and post commander is over 60 and set in their ways.
Most post officers and bookkeepers are volunteers, so they don’t get paid for running the gambling operations. But they are financially liable for any mistakes they make, meaning a simple gambling system is a safe gambling system.
Second is technology and a bit of Luddite-ism. Despite efforts to get younger veterans involved, the majority of VFW and Legion posts in Minnesota have internet access only for email or transmitting legally required gambling reports. E-tabs require a high speed always on internet access. E-tabs are also 100% dependent on technology; a power outage or a computer virus means no gambling. Paper pull tabs can be opened by candle light if necessary, and bar staff are familiar with the possible ways to scam the system. E-tabs need additional plug ins, charging stations, always on wireless internet connections that are secure against hackers, and a big investment in training time for bar staff.
The third reason is survival. The smoking ban that took affect in 2007 was a devastating blow to VFW’s and Legions across the state, and resulted in a fair number of posts being closed. Ever increasing taxes, ever more burdensome regulations (remember most bookkeepers are volunteers) and a recession that is dragging out into a fifth year are all taking a toll in posts statewide. Faced with all of these issues, bringing E-tabs into a post is simply a bridge too far for most to consider.
Beyond that? The actual game machines; the state isn’t approving them for use in the state, even if bars and clubs do start turning out wanting them.
So how much are the people going to have to cough up to pay for
Zygi’s Real Estate Upgrade “The People’s Stadium”?
We’re not going to know for quite a while.