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Issue Date: Vol. 50, No. 10, October 2010, Posted On: 9/22/2010

Minnesota Locations Lobby For VLTs In Bars

Marcus Webb
Profit Minnesota, Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, Minnesota Lodging Association, Minnesota Restaurant Association, Minnesota Resort and Campground Association, Minnesota Operators of Music and Amusements, MOMA, coin-op news, coin machine operator, video lottery terminal, video poker, pull-tab machine, electronic bingo, machine, Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, gambling in bars

ST. PAUL, MN -- Profit Minnesota, a coalition of statewide hospitality associations, is lobbying for video lottery terminals and electronic pull-tab and bingo machines in bars and restaurants. The group says the machines are the best way to meet the state government's projected two-year, $5.8 billion budget deficit.

The Minnesota Operators of Music and Amusements are not listed as members of Profit Minnesota. But the coalition's website does list "machine operators" as potential beneficiaries of its proposed program.

Officially listed members of Profit Minnesota include the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, Minnesota Lodging Association, Minnesota Restaurant Association and Minnesota Resort and Campground Association.

Press sources said Profit Minnesota is asking for up to 16,000 machines statewide. It estimates that, based on a 91% payout, gaming machines would gross $16.3 billion in 2011. Some $14 billion of that gross would come from VLTs, according the estimate, and the other $2.3 billion would be generated from bingos and pull-tabs. The coalition said its estimates are based on data from the Minnesota State Lottery and the Minnesota Gambling Control Board.

Profit Minnesota's distribution chart showed $273 million a year going to locations and "machine operators." Up to $640 million would be paid in taxes and about $723 million would go to state programs like charities and environmental funds, among other groups. An estimated $208 million is apportioned for administration.

Some 3,200 establishments statewide already have electronic pull-tab games. Minnesota also has Indian casinos and a state lottery.

The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association opposes the VLT proposal. According to local press reports, none of Minnesota's gubernatorial candidates has endorsed VLTs in bars, but a few state legislators are backing Profit Minnesota's plan.

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