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Supporters of electronic pull tabs not happy with latest developments

Longtime supporters of legislation that would allow for electronic pull tab devices in Minnesota bars and restaurants are not happy with the new direction things are moving.

On Thursday, members of the Dayton administration said that the devices could generate $72 million a year for the state, easily enough to provide the state’s portion of funding for a Vikings’ stadium.

But that dollar amount assumes that nothing would change in the tax structure surrounding charitable gaming and pull tabs.  For years, supporters of charitable gambling/pull tabs have been seeking relief from the high tax rates, an effective rate of 46 percent. Tax relief has been as much a part of their push as their desire to legalize electronic gaming devices.

That $72 million figure clearly does not allow for a lower tax rate. Legislators who have long supported charitable gambling expansion may pull their support of passing a bill allowing electronic pull tabs, if tax relief is not included.

In the past, proponents of electronic pull tabs have said the new devices, coupled with lower taxes,  could generate about $40 million in new state income.

Obviously, all of this becomes still another hurdle in the effort to create a stadium bill that could receive legislative support.

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