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E-Pulltabs: For Every $1 in Charity the Vikings get $1.80 in Stadium #wilfare

E-pulltabs are up and running. I tried one at O’Gara’s. Our local gambling exploiters, ExpressGames, asked me what I though on Twitter. I told them:

MPR’s Tim Nelson reports that there are now forty venues with electronic trickle-up economics machines installed:

Is forty venues good? Marlys Harris at MinnPost reported how many active venues offering electronic Wilfare collection machines in order to cover the money the state has borrowed to subsidize the NFL:

Minnesota’s Revenue Department moreover based its estimate on assumptions that may or may not hold. Among them: 1,500 sites would offer electronic bingo, and 2,500 would install pull-tab machines.

At the current rate of less than 1.5 new venues/day joining getting into the electronic pull-tab gambling exploitation business, it will only take another 4.5 years to reach the levels needed to cover stadium debt obligations without tapping into the general fund. Has any venue launched electronic bingo yet? As far as I can tell, we’re 0/1,500 on collecting money from through bingo for Vikings stadium Wilfare.

If you’re the kind of person who DOESN’T consider playing pulltabs on an iPad extraordinarily boring, here’s where $1 in goes out:

Split of E-Pulltabs Gambling Revenues

If a decent percentage wasn’t returned as winnings, you wouldn’t see much interest in e-pulltabs. But, clearly, there need to be losers so Zygi can be a winner. Here’s a closer look at who wins as you lose:

Split of Revenue Generated from Electronic Pulltabs

While talking about e-pulltabs with the bartender at O’Gara’s, he said that this helps support a good cause. I’m not sure what charity O’Gara’s pulltabs supports, but I do know this:

For every $1 that goes to support that charity, $1.80 goes to support the NFL.

For every $1 that goes to support that charity, $1.45 goes to the e-pulltab vendor.

For every $1 that goes to support that charity, $0.75 goes to the bar.

For every $1 that goes to an actual charity, $3 goes to support for-profit companies.

Call me crazy, but I think there may be more efficient ways to give money to charities than to give $3 to the NFL, an Las Vegas e-pulltabs gaming company, and a bar for every dollar that goes to charity. It’s costing you $4 to make a $1 donation.

Plus, if you simply donated your own money to the charity of your choice, you could deduct the contribution. After deductions, straight up donating a dollar to charity costs less than a dollar.

If donating to subsidize Zygi Wilf’s wealth is important to you, I’m sure you could send a check to Winter Park to help the guy out. Or, but a brick at the new stadium. How are those brick sales coming along?

7 thoughts on “E-Pulltabs: For Every $1 in Charity the Vikings get $1.80 in Stadium #wilfare”

  1. When anyone talks about something “ahead of projections” whether it’s pull tabs or or light-rail ridership or on-time arrivals by Delta, I suspect the public was originally being low-balled. Pull tabs are a poor policy for anyone personally, but I’m always amazed on how much money can be pulled in on a win-to-loss ratio that narrow.

  2. Thanks for keeping tabs on this Ed. I really the enjoy the phrase: “Wilfare collection machines”.

  3. If you consider – people who gamble think that gambling is entertainment, that makes it a “service” in Econ 101 speak. Bars, electronic pull tab providers and Ziggi put together a good enough package to get state approval for them to offer this “service.” Lots of for profit companies do something similar – have you ever bought a candy bar or wreath from some school kid going door to door? Are there better ways to fund these charities? Maybe – ask O’Gara’s for a list of all the charities they support with gambling winnings and see how many of them are ones you currently contribute to. I’d bet there isn’t much overlap. From the charities point of view, they’ve successfully pitched their organization to Mr. O’Gara (or whoever decided to support them) and now the bar helps them sell a “service” to thousands of willing donors.

    At least with gambling, you have a choice. Most people can choose to not gamble. (Me for one – I don’t indulge.) I have a much harder time coming up with any sort of justification for taxing people to help pay for sports palaces.

  4. There is yet another alternative use of money spent on electronic pull tabs; we could keep it for our own use, to support our family, to educate our children or to save for retirement.

  5. Check your math!
    $1.45 = $3.25
    $0.75 = $4.00 goes to private companies for every $1 donation.
    That’s 80% of the net proceeds going to fundraising.

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