The first year of e-pulltab revenues for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium have been tabulated, and instead of bringing in $62.5 million as Gov. Mark Dayton had initially projected, the actual total is, well, a bit less:
Electronic gambling, which hit Minnesota bars with great fanfare last September, did not raise a dime for the glassy new Vikings football stadium this year.
That’s right: After collecting $15 million from people gambling with creepy Uncle Sam, then shelling out almost $13 million in prize money and paying a share to charities, there was a grand total of zero dollars to help defray the state’s $1.1 billion in stadium subsidies. Or to put it another way, bupkis. That is, diddly-squat. Sweet Fanny Adams?
For his part, Dayton declared on Friday that his “number one take-away from this” is that “to take an untried source of revenue for the sole source of funding for a major project is ill-advised.” He added, “We made an honest mistake and corrected it” — meaning, took hundreds of millions of dollars in current cigarette taxes and future corporate taxes and handed them over to the Vikings instead. Which the state could have voted to do in the first place, but didn’t because legislators would only vote to approve the thing if it involved gambling revenue, not tax money. But proposing gambling revenue and then switching to tax revenue after the fact, that’s totally cool because it was an “honest mistake.” Even though legislators were warning a month before the pulltab vote that gambling revenue might not come through. Hmmmm.