Field of Schemes
sports stadium news and analysis


This is an archived version of a Field of Schemes article. Comments on this page are closed. To find the current version of the article with updated comments, click here.

January 27, 2012

Minneapolis council opposes Mondale's stadium vote end run; legislature turns toward e-pulltabs

The latest in the Minnesota Vikings stadium scrum:

  • State stadium negotiator Ted Mondale thinks he can get around Minneapolis' voter-approved ban on using city money to fund a stadium without a referendum by instead having the city vote to direct the funds to stadium authority, and then that body would spend it on a stadium, so that "it really isn't the city spending that money." Pretty clever, eh? Except that apparently Mondale never asked the Minneapolis city council about his idea, and a majority of the council now opposes funding a Vikings stadium without a public vote, after councilmember Sandra Colvin Roy declared that doing so would thwart the "will of the people." (She even cited the Occupy movement as a reason that government shouldn't so easily dismiss voters' concerns.) Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak retorted, "We're not going to do a referendum in the city. We are going to have a referendum in a couple years when I stand for re-election." He might want to check with George Petak before saying that too loudly.
  • It looks like whatever state bill emerges to fund a stadium will use electronic pulltabs in bars and restaurants as its funding mechanism — which should come as no surprise, given that that's pretty much the only option that doesn't involve either raising taxes or getting sued by Native American tribes. It's still early, though, and even if the state finds enough money for its share of a stadium, there's still the matter of the local government share (see above) that the Vikings are insisting on.


When I search Google for "Electronic Pull Tabs" all I find are links to Minnesota and the Vikings. I can't find any information on other cities that utilize this technology.

I would assume that E-PullTabs cost more to produce and maintain than regular ones. I would also assume that the revue generated today by regular pull tabs wouldn't change that much if E-PullTabs were available. In fact, just the opposite might happen and the people might not use them just out of spite. Of course, there is always the general fund!!!

Posted by MTeegarden on January 27, 2012 02:45 PM

Dear Minnesotans,
Do not go down the slippery slope of the Stadium Authority, like Santa Clara has.

"State stadium negotiator Ted Mondale thinks he can get around Minneapolis' voter-approved ban on using city money to fund a stadium without a referendum by instead having the city vote to direct the funds to stadium authority, and then that body would spend it on a stadium, so that "it really isn't the city spending that money." Pretty clever, eh?"

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on January 27, 2012 02:54 PM

Every time I read an article that mentions Ted Mondale, it sounds like he is negotiating on the side of the Wilfs, against the taxpayer. Why his should be a state-supported job makes no sense to me; if the Wilfs are so wealthy, can't they afford their own shill?

Posted by Dave Boz on January 27, 2012 03:05 PM

MTee: Here's a good primer on pulltabs, electronic and otherwise:

While I haven't seen any studies of pulltabs in particular, cannibalizing your existing market is always a concern with gambling. (See: Maryland starting lotteries to fund Baltimore baseball and football stadiums, then when it tried to start a lottery for education being told it had tapped out the market.) Or perhaps it's better to look at it this way: It puts the state in the position of either cannibalizing the existing gambling market, or creating new gamblers, each of which has its problems...

Posted by Neil deMause on January 27, 2012 03:18 PM

Neil, thanks for the link.

"paper pull-tabs aren't bringing in as much revenue as they used to" electronic ones would bring in more customers? I honestly am out of my league here since I have never purchased a pull-tab, but I have to assume that the revune is down not because people don't like paper tabs, but because they don't have the money to gamble with. I don't think a shinny new toy will change that.

"In 2009, paper pull-tabs generated $36.6 million in revenue for the state. Electronic pull-tabs could bring the state as much as $42 million more" OK, so here is another problem. I am assuming that the $36.6 million is going towards something right now. If the city diverts that money to a Vikings statdium then whatever the money was going towards suffers.

"unless charitable organizations succeed in winning a tax break, which would lower that figure" So, currently the organization that can run pull tabs are charities. However, they have to pay taxes in the amount listed above. The quote makes it sound like there is some sort of legal challenge to this.

Off the topic, I sent a letter to the Governors office asking him and the legistlature to stop using the words "partners" and "investment". Both of those terms indicate that there will be an ROI factor for the taxpayers. I wonder if Wilf would be interested in having a true partnership with the taxpayers. So, if we are going to pay for 60% of a stadium that we don't need, then we should get 60% of all the profits that the stadium generates. Just like in Indianapolis with the Super Bowl. Oh wait...!

Posted by MTeegarden on January 27, 2012 04:24 PM

The older I get the less I feel that politics should be a family calling. Mr. Mondale's dad was an ok guy from what little I know about him, but his son should look for another line of work.

Posted by santa clara jay on January 27, 2012 09:26 PM

Do you have a law on the books that requires fiscal disclosure on city-wide ballot measures? Here in
CA, we do not (either at the state or local level), so our stadium ballot measure did not legally have to disclose costs. Which is why there is a drive for a re-vote now that the stadium costs have actually been disclosed.

There are only fiscal disclosure requirements for state-wide and county-wide ballot measures.

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on January 29, 2012 10:10 PM

Shocker: The Santa Clara folks can't help but comment about Santa Clara in a non-Santa Clara article.

Posted by Shocker on January 30, 2012 03:56 AM

Minnesota legislators are trying to remove city and township local authority, they were looking at such a bill last week. This may be a step in preventing Minneapolis from demanding a referendum on stadium expenditures.

If you don't think that the millionaire players and billionaire owners need a stadium "welfare check", call your state representatives and tell them so. Frequently and loudly. This isn't about jobs, it's about, well, you know, those pesky elections take lots and lots of cash!

A few years ago when the Twins were moving on getting their new stadium, it was revealed that the lack of corporate suites at the Humphrey Dome were the major complaint. It was explained that since it was funded with tax payer money, that private suites would not be built with public funds. If the corporations that wanted suites would cough up the dough, they could build them. There's been skirmishes to dump the Hump ever since. It's not just the team and legislature, it's the local corporate sponsors that want our millions to buy them private suites, and their contributions to the legislators are directing our government now.

I'd love to see the Dome's records of temperature and pressure leading up to the collapse. It had survived much worse unscathed. Anyone bother to check for sabotage? It had to have been "allowed".

Have another cup of coffee and think about it a while. This isn't sports, it's robbing the little guy to feed the greed of the wealthiest in our state.

Posted by Fedup w/Billionaire Welfare on January 30, 2012 08:17 AM

Latest News Items